Here’s to Bob Chambers

Published 7:27 pm Wednesday, December 4, 2019

A school teacher can never be rich except from fulfillment of helping a kid find his or her way. They give of themselves, often filling voids which come about when the right touch is missing at home. They exhibit patience when nerves are frayed and fractured. They are upbeat when moods are gray. They accentuate the positive, they are practitioners of “can do” and “thumbs-up.” They are forever jolly good personalities imbued with an indefatigable work ethic, always making sure that selflessness rides shotgun with them every day. They are confidantes and counselors. They comfort those with fragile composures. There is little a caring, giving and forgiving teacher can’t do. 

The aforementioned is an attempt to describe the heart and soul of Bob (and his wife, Nell) Chambers, who devoted their lives for making the atmosphere, goals and objectives of Pace Academy, and subsequently Athens Academy, the best they could be. In addition to being a sage and sanguine leader and adept administrator, Chambers was also a doting sports aficionado and coach—and very, very accomplished.

Led by Jackie Bradford, founder of the Atlanta Tipoff Club, a group of basketball ole timers, from Greater Atlanta, met last week for lunch and honored Chambers for his leadership in education and coaching successes. Bob Chambers’ resume includes these salient facts: B. S. and Masters Degrees, University of Georgia, graduating Phi Beta Kappa; spent 50 years in education. His 1972 track and field team captured the state title at Olympics I, and he was named State Coach of the Year by the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association, and the AJC. No educator ever set a finer example.

At Athens Academy, he served as Golf Coach for five years during which one of his teams won a state championship in 1991 for which he was named State Coach of the Year by GACA. 

Chambers guided Athens Academy to explosive growth. The school added seven new buildings to an expanded campus during his 30 years as headmaster. He oversaw the raising of academic standards, pushed for greater student and faculty involvement in community service, and along with athletics, made the arts a cornerstone of the school’s balanced curriculum. 

Perhaps his crowning achievement came as a fund raiser when he developed a partnership with the Bertelsmann Foundation of Germany that led to more than $8 million dollars in gifts to Athens Academy. Someone has said that “Bob’s pinnacle achievement in his profession is to have earned the affection and respect of thousands of young people, stretching from Atlanta to Athens, and wherever his former students have gone to live and work. They are better people for having been motivated by a man whose magnetic personality and singular devotion to education inspired them to reach for excellence, while always remembering to help others along the way.”