Prep's Kho Teacher of the Year finalist

Prep's Kho Teacher of the Year finalist
Posted on 09/04/2020
Ryan Kho

For Ryan Kho, teaching in the Middle School gives him a unique perspective. In his 12th year teaching math at Augusta Prep, he gets to mold young students and prepare them for the Upper School and beyond.

“This is the crossroads, where you make sure they’re all on the right path going forward,” Kho said. “It’s a gratifying thing to see.”

Kho has accomplished many things in his tenure at Augusta Prep, leading the 2015 varsity girls tennis team to a state championship, heading up the Middle School tennis program and running the Middle School Chess Club and MATHCOUNTS club. Now, he’s added another distinction: Kho is a finalist in the Georgia Independent Schools Association (GISA) Teacher of the Year competition. The winner will be announced at the GISA convention in November.

“I never think of teaching as something to be recognized,” he said. “I’m honored, but I’m also humbled because there’s so many other great teachers out there.” 

Kho, who was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Canada, didn’t have teaching on his radar as a youth. He grew up thinking about being a neurosurgeon, like his grandfather. He played tennis as a youth; his uncle played for China in the Davis Cup and also played in Wimbledon. Kho  played the violin as a youth; his mother was a pianist, while his father was a dentist before becoming an attorney.

“It’s kind of funny,” Kho said, “when I think about all the different professions in my family.”

He chose the musical path, attending the New England Conservatory of Music on full scholarship and receiving a bachelor’s degree in music. Upon graduation, he spent his first career as a concert violinist.

“I was going to be a neurosurgeon, but something just clicked in me,” Kho said. “I was making it into all these orchestras. I was playing solos. I was in competitions. Maybe this is something I really wanted to do, which is great because I toured all over the world.”

He taught during summers in San Francisco. He took the Hong Kong Orchestra on its debut to France. He has played violin all over the world, including a performance at the famed Carnegie Hall.

In 1990, he came to Augusta as concertmaster (second only to the conductor) of the Augusta Symphony. He continued in that role for 19 years, while also teaching music at the University of South Carolina, the University of Georgia and Georgia Southern University. He also tutored math on the side, “for fun,” he said.

“Math has always been my strong point,” Kho added. “Science was always something I was going into. Somehow, I just had a career path turn.”

Following his retirement from the Augusta Symphony, Kho received his Master of Arts in Teaching from Augusta University. He soon found a teaching position at Augusta Prep. He said he still wakes up excited to teach every morning.

“It’s amazing teaching here,” he said. “Teaching here, you always have an atmosphere of positive learning. Everybody wants to learn.”

While Kho is now in his 12th year of teaching Middle School math, he is also coaching the Middle School tennis teams (girls and boys). Kho, who is married to Christine and has a son (Aidan) in sixth grade, leads the Middle School Math Team (MATHCOUNTS), taking them to various competitions in the spring. On Mondays, he conducts the youth orchestra at Augusta University. He also conducts all-state orchestras in South Carolina. In his free time, he plays tennis in 4.0 leagues and runs in various 10K events throughout the year. He also enjoys cooking and gardening.

“I think that’s about it,” he said, laughing. 

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