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The work of the heart

The work of the heart

Theodore Wagner plants the seeds of knowledge in students of PRHS and overseas in mission work

Twenty-one years after beginning his career, Theodore Wagner has lived his life through his strong faith, love of unique cultures, and his love of serving others through his job and mission work.

He will also whip out his violin and elegantly entertain his math classes at the drop of a hat.

Students and administration praise Wagner for his many successful strategies and student testimonies in the math classroom.

“He’s really great at teaching things in a simple manner, which makes the struggles of Precalculus more bearable” Jeremy Hunt, 10th grade Precalculus student, said.

He’s got just as many for his mission work in countries such as Bulgaria, Peru, and Mexico.

Eric Martinez, PRHS Principal, is proud to be a bearcat.

“I have worked with Mr. Wagner for almost two years. Mr. Wagner has made a great impact on our school through his positive and enthusiastic attitude and his amazing content knowledge.  He also has done a great job in providing guidance for students in the after school math tutoring lab who need additional support,” Principal Eric Martinez said.

Wagner chairs the mathematics department at PRHS and currently teaches honors Precalculus,  Avid 9, and Algebra 2. It’s a steady pursuit of meaning and quality in his classroom for him and for his students.

“I would much rather ask a student how they should approach a problem rather than simply tell them how to do it. I also like to allow students to work in pairs and groups whenever it makes sense. Some of my favorite days in teaching are when students work together to solve a difficult problem in which they need to apply multiple skills in order to find the solution. It’s really satisfying to hear quality conversation about math,” said Wagner.

With such a love of math everyday, his style inspires.

Living until eighth grade in Glendora, California, a suburb of Los Angeles, Wagner moved to San Luis Obispo County and Atascadero High School. He graduated in 1990, continuing his educational path with his teaching credentials from Cal Poly.

During his college career in 1992, Wagner toured and served in Bulgaria for three weeks shortly after the Berlin Wall had come down.


“I graduated high school and had been in college for a few years and decided I wanted to go overseas to do mission work wherever I could. So I connected with a organization that was going to Bulgaria to share the gospel and sharing the bible with the people there,” Wagner explained.

Wagner has since been to Mexico multiple times with churches such as Atascadero Bible Church and churches in the area of Paso.

“We help out in orphanages, build houses. I’ve done that a couple times– to just be a person with a hammer and helping out anyway that I could,”Wagner said.  

From 2002 to 2003 Wagner continued his mission work with Wycliffe Bible Translators and went down to Pucallpa, Peru.  Their goal was to go down there to help out with the bible translating efforts.

In Peru, Wagner admitted he is not a linguist, so he did not actively participate in the translating but instead he began teaching math to the children of missionaries and children of families who have come from other countries and wanted to be taught by credentialed teachers.  

“I really wanted to support the effort because I wanted people there to be able to read the Bible for themselves so that they could understand what it says and make an informed decision about its claims. The best way I thought for this to happen was for people to have the Bible in their own language, since so many people in Peru don’t speak Spanish,” mentioned Wagner about his passion for the efforts in Peru.

When Wagner is not teaching or in the mission fields he also is a family man who enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters and having fun being out in nature on the beautiful central coast, especially hiking and going to the beach. In his spare time he likes playing violin or guitar and enthusiastically following soccer teams like European teams and the Champion’s League.

Continuing to have passions outside of the classroom has allowed Wagner to enjoy life.

“I am passionate about finding the truth about fundamental questions of life: How did we get here? Who are we? and Where are we going? I think it’s important that we have conversations about these topics, but it is becoming less common in a world where so many people would rather stare at a device than talk with another human being,” Wagner said.

WIth his experience of teaching comes the joy of teaching students through the years and expanding their education.  But don’t doubt that Wagner will ever be bored in this adventure that is called life.   

“I have thoughts of going overseas again and teaching in another country like I did in Peru, maybe assisting families working as missionaries. I might also get a degree in philosophy, theology, or apologetics and work at a church. I can also see myself volunteering as a math tutor. I don’t plan on ever being bored,” Wagner said.

“Mr. Wagner is a great teacher and person. He truly cares about his students and their success. He is always willing to support his students and challenge their understanding to maximize their math foundations. We are lucky to have Mr. Wagner as a Bearcat Faculty Member,” Martinez said.

Who knows when Wagner will leave PRHS, but, when he does, a legacy of teaching will continue to inspire the teachers and students of this campus, through his service of faith and education.

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    Learn ZOEJun 22, 2021 at 6:21 pm

    Individualized instruction is not only to enhance Math skills but also to prepare your child for success. An after-school math tutor program will assist your child to achieve it. That is why it is worth trying an online school for your kids.