This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

PERRY, Iowa — A midlife career change set a Perry Middle School teacher on a track to help change the lives of his students.

Chris Marks owned a lawn care company for years before he decided to become a teacher at the age of 40. He always had a passion for coaching and teaching kids.

“I just enjoy coming to see them each day. I look forward to coming in each day. I look forward to hanging out with them,” Marks explains.

At Perry Middle School, Marks teaches technology, yearbook and a course that prepares students for real world experiences. 

“I think a lot of times they see how much I care that they learn these things. Sometimes I have to say guys I really want you to know these things,” Marks says.

When life got real for one of his students, he showed his unwavering support. Now a freshman, Rachel Kares became a mom last school year. She calls her teacher a father-figure.

“I don’t know it might be because he’s a dad but he’s always the one I would turn to before a lot of my own family,” says Kares.

Programs Marks offered after school he began offering during the school day so students like Kares wouldn’t feel left out. Kares says her teacher always took the time listen.

“I’m so glad I am more confident now to go through high school because he gave me a lot of pointers. He told me there are going to be challenges and I will be there for you every step of the way and he has lived up to it completely.” 

Marks has taught at Perry Schools for five years. 

Watch Jodi’s entire interview with Mr. Marks below:

You can see other Golden Apple Award winners and find out how you can nominate a teacher here.