HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Inside the walls of Kecoughtan High School, you’ll find one history class that’s a little different from the rest and students say that difference comes down to their teacher, James Kimbrough.

“He’s a great teacher, straight forward, to the point. He’s an effective teacher, he’s very communicative, talkative, a joy to be around. I would say he’s one of the best teachers at KHS,” said Jack Johnson, a sophomore student.

After 22 years in the Army, Kimbrough decided to make his mark in the classroom. His approach isn’t waiting for students to come to him, but instead meeting them where they are.

“If nothing else, I want them to know that I see them and if it’s students I have or students that aren’t even in my classroom I want them to know I see them. I’m not afraid to ask, ‘hey, are you on track?'” said Kimbrough.

Kimbrough teaches Government to seniors and World History 2 to sophomores.

“I think he’s like a very nice person; very intelligent, he loves what he does,” said sophomore student, Everett Saunders.

A few minutes in his class and it’s easy to notice his conversational approach.

“He gets very interactive, so we understand concepts a little more clearly,” explained sophomore student, Sheo Newell.

“I like to ask questions, I like to have the discussion going, I still use a lot of visual aids whether it’s music, video, PowerPoint slides; I’m notorious for drawing on the white board,” said Kimbrough.

Kimbrough’s work with students doesn’t stop in the classroom. It expands in the afternoons to the softball field, where he coaches the JV girls’ softball team. That’s where he’s able to pair his social-emotional learning skills with his love of baseball to continue making a difference.

“If they know that somebody cares, that’s the biggest part most of these young people need to understand,” stated Kimbrough.