When he was in high school, Kyle Hutley’s college and career plans weren’t set in stone.
As he approached his senior year at Parsons High School, he had some thoughts about engineering and some about business. His dad has a bachelor’s in business administration with a major in management, and in talking to his father throughout the process, he learned the degree is really broad and you could do a lot with it. Since he wasn’t set on any particular field, he decided to follow in his father’s footsteps at college and then he would let it take him down what every career path it led after acquiring his degree.
After graduating in 2017 from PHS, Hutley went to Pittsburg State University where he pursued his bachelor’s degree in business management. “I worked outside of that area for a few years. I worked at Power Flame and did CAD engineering work and then moved to a bank and worked there for about a year doing some loan analysis stuff and dealt with customer profiles and things like that,” Hutley said. “Throughout that whole stretch, I kind of had the thought in the back of my head that I wanted to teach, even like in my junior year of college, but by that time I thought I was too far in. I thought it would be too late to switch, too hard to switch.”
That sense that he should be doing something different would well up in him, and his thoughts could not be quieted that were telling him being a teacher would be awesome, and that he would enjoy it. He decided to try to stick it out where he was and see if he could silence those inner voices. “And here we are,” Hutley said, as he sat behind his desk in his classroom at Parsons Middle School, where he teaches keyboarding, multimedia and computer applications. “I saw this position and applied for it and I luckily got my foot in the door to where I am going back to school to get my Transition to Teaching, and getting my educational block finished up,” Hutley said.
He is doing that through Fort Hays State taking evening courses online. So, essentially, Hutley dove into the deep end of the pool with having never taught or subbed, guided only by a deep sense it is what he is meant to be doing with his life, and the help of some other professionals in the field. He married a teacher this month, Ally Hicks. Her mother is a teacher, and his wife’s uncle is a teacher, so he has a lot of mentors to turn to. He said he works through his plans and talks to those mentors, just about every night.
“So far it’s been pretty good,” Hutley said. “I think it has started off pretty good. With me having so much to learn, it is just going to be a trial-and-error situation for the first semester, because that is as long as my classes are. They are semester classes.
“It’s figuring out what works, and what doesn’t work, and just learning that way.”
He has been advised that everyone says the first year is the toughest.
“If I’m stressed or having tough days, I just try to think about that,” Hutley said. “There’s a lot to learn and stuff to build on.”
To make this dream happen, Hutley, a former American Cornhole League Pro, stepped out of the pro circuit. “This year I thought about trying to get back into the pro circuit. I took last year off and this year, just because of the new job changes. At some point I’m going to get back into it,” he said. “I still try to play in a lot of the local stuff. I still try to get to Wichita, Kansas City at least once or twice a month and play in those regional events and making conferences and stuff. The big ones where you have to take off Thursday, Friday and Monday, I’m not doing a whole lot of, especially with getting married this year and taking a week off for that. I’m saving my days and playing when I can, but it is taking a backseat for now until I have some time and get used to the new schedule and everything.
He said it definitely helps that there are games he can make a quick day trip to without burning his whole weekend, to keep his skills honed and enjoy the competition.
“Those are almost more fun to me anyway rather than being gone all weekend, getting back and being tired and then be right back to another work week,” Hutley said. “I kind of enjoy just picking and choosing the ones I want to go to. It’s more fun and I feel like it makes me play better.”
Hutley reflected on where he is and what helped him to reach this place in his life. Part of it was the teachers in Parsons who influenced him while growing up.
“What I liked a lot about going to school here is there was a handful of teachers in each building that you went to that were really passionate and really caring about this job and really cared for the students. Those teachers make a bigger impact than I think some of them realize,” he said. “To have an opportunity to possibly be one of those teachers for the students was definitely one of my goals. Debbie Shaffer works in this building and still, to this day, she is one of my favorite teachers I ever had. I had her in fifth grade. Just growing up and having those teachers that made you feel comfortable, that made you feel seen, just really made school more fun, more entertaining, and a better place to be.”
“If I can help at least one students have a better day ‑hopefully more than one, but at least one ‑I feel like I’ve already done half my job right there, because teachers, I think they are not only here to teach materials, but we also play a big part in being an adult figure that the kids can look up to and be a good role model to. Some of these kids may not have a good role model at home, or any, so this is a place where they can come and see good role models that can really change someone’s life,” Hutley said. “If I can do that, that would be awesome.”