Search form

Teacher Earns Top Marks in Sexiest Bachelor Contest

Share School Issues CenterHigh school teacher Thomas G. Gill of Virginia Beach beat 50 other single men to win the Fox Network's Sexiest Bachelor in America contest last week. In an interview with Education World, Gill talks about how his students and colleagues responded to his title, plus his priorities and other interests.

Thomas G. Gill The newly crowned Sexiest Bachelor in America, teacher Thomas G. Gill, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, doesn't mind when people tell him he was not the handsomest guy among 51 contestants in Fox Network's Sexiest Bachelor in America pageant.

Gill, 29, who has taught Advanced Placement government at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy in Virginia Beach for the past five years, said he agrees he was not the best-looking bachelor but is pleased that his interview responses were well received. Gill also would like his victory to promote a broader view of what is sexy.

"I hope the term sexy now is not just how you look," Gill told Education World. "It's a lot about the mind and what people think. I hope people are inspired to be well rounded. I like the fact that some people said maybe I was not the best-looking guy there, but they talked about my answers."

Crowned the Sexiest Bachelor in America, Gill also received a $100,000 cash prize. The beauty-pageant-style show aired October 2 on the Fox Network. Gill triumphed over bachelors from the 49 other states and the District of Columbia for the title. He plans to use the prize money for a down payment on a house, to "play" a little, and "do some good things."

And no, he has not received any marriage proposals yet.


Gill kept mum about being the winner of the contest -- per his agreement with the network -- since finding out on September 12, when the show was taped at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. He continued to keep the outcome a secret as he watched the show in a Virginia Beach restaurant with a group of 50 friends and family members who "were going nuts" when his name was announced as the winner.

Gill also received an enthusiastic reception at school the next day, including bouquets of flowers, red ribbon framing his door, banners reading "NSA has the sexiest bachelor in America," and some good-natured teasing, according to Headmaster Shane Foster.

"It was important to be there the next day, if for no other reason than to get it over with,'' Gill said. He added he wanted to minimize any disruption to the school, which has about 1,040 students in pre-k through 12th grade.

Minimizing the disruption hasn't been easy. The day after the broadcast, administrators received requests from seven different television crews to visit the academy's campus, Foster told Education World. Foster decided not to allow media on school grounds, a decision Gill supported. "It's been a positive experience because no TV cameras were on campus," Gill said.


Gill even waited until after school the day after the pageant was aired to fly to New York City to appear on three television shows: CBS This Morning, Fox News Edge, and Lifetime Live. Then he flew back in time to be in class the next morning.

Staff members at the academy say the example Gill sets for students conveys to them that education comes first. Staff and students at the academy have known for one thing for a while, Foster said. Gill is not just a good-looking guy but also a genuinely nice guy -- not to mention a dedicated teacher.

"He's a wonderful educator and does so much more," Foster said. "All of us think he is well deserving of the title." Parents also have been calling to congratulate Gill. "They are saying he is a wonderful role model."

In addition to teaching, Gill is also the school's student activities director, coaches the swim team and the girl's varsity soccer team, and is an announcer at basketball games, Foster said. The swim team last year raised about $5,000 for the American Cancer Society as part of a school-wide fundraiser.

Gill traveled to Kenya in 1998 to assist with the Operation Smile program, through which doctors volunteer to surgically correct facial deformities for needy people. Gill helped organize the visit and scheduled appointments for patients, according to Foster. The school has its own Operation Smile Club to support the national program.

"He packs an awful lot into his life," commented Foster.


His colleagues and students aren't the only people Gill impresses. Judging by his scores in the contest, he also impressed the pageant's panel of five judges, the production staff, and other contestants.

When Gill learned during the taping that he had won, he said he was in shock. "I thought there was no way in the world -- I thought there were other guys who were better looking."

"You could tell from his scores he did very well; he was very consistent," a spokesperson for Fox, who asked that her name be withheld, said. "He's really a sweetheart. They could not have picked someone better. Most of the men agreed he deserved it."

Gill said he is particularly pleased that several people told him they enjoyed his answers, especially to some awkward questions.

When faced with the question "Where is the most provocative place you have ever had sex?" Gill told the interviewer that he had been raised as a southern gentleman and does not talk about those types of things. When pressed, Gill said he answered "It's always provocative."

"Even though some of the questions were not as tasteful as they could have been, his responses were seen as very responsible and did himself and the school proud," Foster said. "He knew his family and his students would be watching."

In another interview, Gill talked about how he had saved a man's life on his first day on the job as a lifeguard when he was 20 and about his work with Operation Smile.


In addition to being scored on their interviews, contestants were also judged on their appearance in formal wear and bathing suits -- an advantage for Gill, who works during the summer as a lifeguard at Virginia Beach.

In fact, Gill learned about the Fox pageant when he participated in a lifeguarding competition in August. Some Fox production staff members approached him about the pageant there.

After Gill refused to fill out an application three or four times, a production assistant finally persuaded Gill to go ahead. His answers to some questions were videotaped, and Gill said he figured that was the last he would hear of the contest.

A week later, a Fox staffer called to tell him, pending some background checks, that he was potentially Mr. Virginia. Gill was told to make a decision about participating.

"The first person I went to was the headmaster," Gill said. "He said there was a substantial financial aspect and it would be ridiculous to hold me back. He said he had faith in me to uphold the reputation of the school and my own integrity. I decided I would do it."


Although Gill did not plan to be a teacher when he majored in government at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, he said he "fell in love with it" while coaching and substitute teaching at his former high school, Norfolk Academy, after graduating from college.

"I liked the opportunity to interact with students," he said. "I got to see students understand things I was teaching them."

The Sexiest Bachelor in America plans to remain in the classroom, but Gill did admit that if some attractive offers come his way -- such as to act or model -- he might have to ponder those offers.

"I like teaching, and I know it will always be there," Gill said. "If I got an incredible offer, I would have to look at it."

Ellen R. Delisio
Education World®
Copyright © 2000 Education World

Related Articles from Education World

Please check out our featured theme this week: