Teacher Spotlight: James and Brinn Ball

Teachers James and Brinn Ball taking a picture together at the beach.

Brinn Ball

Teachers James and Brinn Ball taking a picture together at the beach.

Annabelle Anchondo, Editor

In a community devoted to raising the next generation with kindness, warmth, and school spirit, SEHS is filled with individuals dedicated to the children they teach and constantly welcomes those who aspire to do the same. This school year, Springlake-Earth’s administrators, students, and teachers were blessed with a new family addition to the Wolverine Nation who has constantly shown their warm hearts and care for those at SEHS. 

After many years at their past school district, James and Brinn Ball made the decision to pack their bags with Wolverine spirit and make the move to the Springlake-Earth community. Together, the couple has enjoyed 23 years of marriage and shares two daughters, Avery and Amerie, and one son, Riley. Despite the great change it brought for the entire family, they feel blessed to call SEHS their home and make an impact on the lives they have come to know and care for.  

However, coming across the jobs at SE came at a great surprise to the Ball family. 

“I had been job hunting for a little while and went on different interviews this last year starting in the spring and then the summer,” James said. “Anyways, Dr. Crum called me kind of out of the blue, and he had asked if I was still looking for a job. I was, and he said, ‘well we’d like to interview you.’ So, we came up here.” 

Prior to attending his interview, James and Brinn had little clue where Springlake-Earth was located. 

“Three years ago, I didn’t know where Springlake-Earth was until they dropped down to six-man, and since they are six-man, I had kind of heard of them and watched them on scores. Not very often, but you just kind of look at the state-wide schools after Friday night or Saturday. That’s all I knew about Springlake-Earth,” James said.

Little did James or his family know that only a few years later, he would be coaching the very six-man team he had heard about while his wife taught the students he would most likely see on the field during practice. After the interview, James was offered the Athletic Director’s position and learned he would be teaching history in addition. Brinn, on the other hand, received a position teaching RTI, 8th-grade English, and Math Models. 

“It was surreal simply because we were looking for a change, but we had been where we were for so long that it didn’t seem like that was happening,” Brinn said.

With that news, they returned back to Panther Creek and began the process of moving from the place they had called home for 15 consecutive years. Besides Panther Creek, the Balls had taught and coached in other school districts, including Early, Blanket, Brownwood, Gorden, and Knox City.  

“Small schools are the way to go, and big schools are not, at least for me, because of the relationships you get to have that you miss out on when you have a 100 to 250 kids a day,” Brinn said.

Getting to see his parents inspire students anywhere they go with their kindness and care, their son and 8th-grader Riley is beyond proud of the example that his parents have set for him and other students.  

“They taught me to be respectful and have fun,” Riley said. “They have been wonderful role models, always getting things done, never wasting time, and relaxing when they can.”

In fact, the Balls have already had an impact on many lives at SE through the role models they are, including senior Cain Tovar. 

The Ball family taking a family photo. (Nikki Copley)

“Coach Ball has helped me to be a better athlete by believing in my ability to make a play on the field and trusting that I understand my assignment,” Tovar said. “I think we would’ve made it to state last year if it would have been him and Coach Ethridge. They’re both amazing coaches and people that make you want to play for them.” 

Brinn has also made her way in the classroom, offering her students a place to be understood and supported. 

“She’s always been nice to me, and you can tell that she’s one of those teachers that really wants to be here and cares about others,” junior Emma Stevenson said.

Other students have also picked up on the kind-hearted nature of Mrs. Ball.

“She is a Top G because she is really nice to everybody,” sophomore Nehemiah Castillo said.

Through her own actions and the relationships she builds with her students, her hope is to see that they are going to be productive individuals in the future.

“We are here to educate them, but maybe more importantly, we are here to make them productive citizens and that relationship with the students is a key to that.”

The Balls are excited for the time to come at Springlake-Earth and hope that one day the result of their impact will carry students to achieving their greatest success.  

“I want to give these guys the best possible chance for success and get them down the road,” James said. “I want these kids to really learn what they’re doing and just try to put them in the best possible position to have plenty of success, so they can carry those memories the rest of their life.”