Peter William Wade (born March 24, 1970) is a graduate of Knoxville West High School and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Pete Wade is best known as an award-winning writer, director and editor of independent films, serving as CEO of OFF Productions based out of Nashville, Tennessee. He is widely recognized as an actor and director on The Pete Wade Show, a popular television program airing in Tennessee, Washington, Oregon, Texas, Minnesota and Colorado. In addition, Pete is an acclaimed high school Calculus teacher and record-setting American traveler. His brother Benjamin James Wade is best known as a cast member of the reality show Survivor 18.
The Wade Brothers are direct descendants of historic figure Pocahontas as well as Lewis and Clark Expedition veteran Sergeant Charles Floyd. Their paternal grandparents Nelle Irene Wright and Willie Raymond Wade were born into impoverished families in Des Moines, Iowa and Bono, Arkansas respectively. Nelle grew up in Chicago in the 1920’s, making her mark as a classical violinist. Willie had a difficult upbringing, kicked out of his parents’ house at the age of 13 and at which point he illegally hopped a train to Los Angeles. Railroad security fired a shot as he boarded one of the boxcars, damaging his left eye badly enough to render him legally blind. He and Nelle married in the 1940’s and because Willie was an excellent cook, he opened three restaurants in the Los Angeles area while moonlighting as one of the top middleweight boxers in Southern California. Operating these eateries barely paid the bills and the family remained in poverty, raising a son William and a daughter Sheila.
The Wade Brothers’ maternal grandparents also grew up in extreme poverty. Bernice Irene Pitts grew up outside of Indianapolis, Indiana and worked in a meat packing plant from a young age. Claude Herschel Craig was raised in rural Boody, Illinois, later becoming a jig grinder in Indianapolis where he met Bernice. After marrying, they gave birth to a daughter Cheryl and a son Deryl. The family moved to Los Angeles in the early 1950’s to escape the harsh winters of The Midwest. It was here that Claude would start his company California Jig Grinding.
Peter William Wade was born in Knoxville, Tennessee in the early 1970’s but a great deal of his upbringing took place in Los Angeles, mainly in the Whittier area, which had a much greater impact on him than the culture of the Southeastern United States. The family lived in Communist Russia for six months in 1977 while William, fluent in Russian, worked at Moscow State University teaching and researching mathematics.
In the early 1980’s, he enrolled at Tyson Junior High School and began violin lessons in the 8th grade. It was during this coming of age that Pete’s aptitude for mathematics, language, poetry and art. He attended Knoxville West High School graduating in 1988, excelling academically while participating in the Knoxville Youth Symphony Orchestra. He selected to enroll at the University of Tennessee where his father taught mathematics. By his senior year, Pete would become the student concertmaster of the UTK Orchestra while majoring in mathematics.
In 1994, with a Masters Degree in Mathematics Education, Wade was hired by Martin Luther King Magnet School in Nashville, Tennessee (currently the 8th best public school in the United States). He later taught at inner-city Wright Middle School for three years, where his students were making great achievements. In a community with a 67% high school dropout rate and 8th grade test scores ranking in the 25th percentile nationally, Wade’s students were routinely scoring in the 80th percentile in mathematics and were being accepted to prestigious high schools outside of the school zone.
In August 1997, his independent film Takin’ it to the Streets was aired on Nashville’s Community Access Television channel, heralding the beginning of “The Pete Wade Show,” spoofing pop culture and airing independent films and travel documentaries.
In 1997, he noticed a link between two Pythagorean Triples (specifically the triples 6, 8, 10 and 8, 15, 17). No mathematician had been capable of producing a theorem that would generate a list of every possible Pythagorean Triple. Working on a pattern he noticed, Wade found a recursion that seemingly created this all-inclusive list. His father found a loophole that was quickly fixed and indeed proved the theorem to be true. The Mathematical Association of America then verified that this was a unique theorem that had never been discovered and it was hence named the Wade-Wade Theorem.
In the fall of 1998, Wade was recruited to teach at Fred J. Page High School in Franklin, TN. The school was part of the Williamson County Schools system, academically the best in Tennessee. In his first year, Pete had the highest Geometry scores in the county and in 1999, Wade was selected to take over the Calculus program. Wade targeted students who typically would not have taken an AP course and convinced them to accept the challenge of college-level curriculum. By 2001, Calculus enrollment was averaging 50 students per year, the first school in the county to reach that mark despite being the second smallest high school in the system.
Page High had become the first public school in Tennessee at which over one-third of their graduates were passing Calculus (excluding academic magnet schools). In addition, 100% of the students taking the national AP Exam were receiving passing scores. Wade had also become very active in the athletic program, accepting head coaching positions in girls soccer and boys and girls track & field. He became the first coach of a male sport at Page High with a #1 ranked team in Tennessee (boys track & field in 2006), took assistant coaching jobs with the successful boys soccer and ice hockey teams, and became the television announcer for the football team and the public address announcer for the girls and boys basketball teams as well serving one year as Athletic Director.
At the same time, Wade found a new outlet for his independent films. In 2003, he helped orchestrate the debut of the 48 Hour Film Project in Nashville and in 2004, he became a participant. Writing, filming and editing a short film in 48 hours seemed a monumental task for any group, even more so for the two-person team of Pete Wade and Jack Hooper. Their entry, Oneonta Road, placed 3rd of 33 teams.
In the summer of 2006, the Wade Brothers entered North Dakota completing their visits to all 50 states. After this point, Ben began traveling less within the United States and more abroad, while his brother set his sights on becoming the most traveled human within the Contiguous United States by 2015.
In 2007, with their second entry in the 48 Hour Film Project, OFF Productions’ film Abandon was named runner-up for best picture among 46 teams. Wade was named best video editor in Nashville and Jack Hooper was named best special effects editor. The video company began focusing less on independent films and more on documentaries.
In late 2007, the Wade Brothers collaborated on a project for the first time. As their diverse talents led them to pursue vastly different interests over the years, their two career paths finally intersected when Ben invited Pete to Northern California to film a documentary on the Susanville Symphony Orchestra. The project premiered at the Sierra Theatre in downtown Susanville on June 16, 2008.