Mr Treakle: Teacher, librarian, leader and legacy


Michael Tatum

Mr. Treakle helps to create organic fertilizer for the Courtyard Garden on May 8, 2019. He had recently won the FCPS teacher of the month award.

You can find Mr. Kirk Treakle in the library, whether checking out books, talking to the members of Going Green, or helping a student out with their science homework. After 25 years at Carson, Mr. Treakle is retiring, after being a science teacher, librarian and RCMS environmental club leader.

Mr. Treakle has been at Rachel Carson Middle School since 1998, when the school opened, as an eighth-grade science teacher.  

“I taught eighth-grade physical science and energy for eleven years,” said Mr. Treakle. “It was wonderful. I loved teaching science.” 

After 11 years of teaching at RCMS, he moved to the library in 2009, and started the school eco-club, known as Going Green.

“I couldn’t [do environmental work] through science, but I still wanted to do environmental work with students,” said Mr. Treakle, reflecting on his environment-protecting experience.

Even before then, though, he was doing environmental work with his students in classes. SOLs used to be earlier in the year, giving teachers a larger portion at the end of the school year for other projects. 

“After the SOLs,” Mr. Treakle said, “I did this big project called Environmania where students had to select topics and form groups of two to five. They would explore a topic and would do a presentation. Then they had to do something, an action, where they really made a difference in some way.”

In his last year of teaching science, Mr. Treakle went even bigger, initiating a project to equip RCMS with solar panels.

“I had about 15 students from all my classes from different periods combine, and we got the solar panels on the school rolling.”

And in November of 2010, RCMS was able to turn on its eleven solar panels. 

In Going Green, Mr. Treakle provides encouragement to students to love the planet and get involved in environmental work. This year, in an environmental contest called Caring for our Watersheds, two of RCMS’s groups in Going Green placed first and second place. RCMS has been participating in Caring for our Watersheds contests for seven years, and this year, Mr. Treakle was awarded with a Legacy award for being a sponsor of Caring for our Watersheds. 

Mr. Treakle is passing on his role as leader of Going Green to Ms. Patty Walsh, who is the current co-sponsor of Going Green. 

“I’ll be happy to come back and assist,” he said. “And of course I’ll be having some long conversations with Ms. Walsh, trying to relay to her some of the inner workings that would be helpful to her next year.” 

Regarding retirement, Mr. Treakle admits that he hasn’t thought about it much. 

“I’ve been so busy that I’ve been too busy to think about it, to tell you the truth,” he said. “It’s bittersweet, because I do love my job a lot. But I do want to try a lot of other things that I haven’t been able to dedicate much time to.”

Mr. Treakle thinks for a while before responding to what his favorite part at RCMS has been.

“Standardized tests,” he joked at first, before saying, “Just being part of a vibrant community, full of students and staff with excitement to discover so many things.”

Photo Credit Lakshanya Muthuvitti Vineesh

Mr. Treakle is optimistic, for both his retirement, and the planet. 

“I’m going to travel some more,” Mr. Treakle said. “I like photography, I play guitar, I sing, and I like being outside in nature, camping, hiking, trail running … I love to be near water. But I plan to continue environmental work.”

“I would say that despite the many challenges that we all face, environmental and otherwise,” he said,  “I’m very hopeful for the future because of what I see in today’s youth.”