Biology, Dual Credit Biology, and Environmental Science (Watershed) Teacher at Sycamore High School
What high school(s) did you attend/graduate from?
St. Charles…go Saints!
What college(s) did you attend/graduate from? Which degree(s) do you hold?
Bachelors of Science in Wildlife Biology from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point…go Pointers!
Masters of Science in Curriculum and Instruction from National Louis University…go????. (I don’t think they have a mascot.)
Masters of Science in Biology with an emphasis in science education from Northern Illinois University…go Huskies!
What three words best describe you?
Dedicated, Innovative, Caring
What do you like to do in your free time?
Read, Hang out with my family, Travel with my wife, Relax on a dock or pontoon boat in northern Wisconsin, Projects around the house
What’s the most interesting job you’ve ever had?
As an undergrad at UW-Stevens Point I assisted graduate students. The work study program lead to opportunities to be involved with research that included black bears, bobcats, white-tailed deer, thirteen-lined ground squirrels, and prairie chickens. Working with, and learning about the world around us was exciting but I think teaching and sharing those experiences with students is more interesting. Their curiosity brings a new perspective to the work I was involved with. Even as an undergrad I cherished the chance to teach others about the research.
What school memory from when you were a student still impacts you today?
I grew up watching my father teach at St. Charles High School. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, his ability to connect with and impact students of all ability levels would have a large impact on me. Many years later, when my father passed away, the response from the community and former students was amazing. My mother listened to stories and received hundreds of letters from former students explaining the positive role my father had played in their lives. During that time I came to realize the enormous impact educators can have on their students. Although I wasn’t teaching at the time all of this happened, those memories as well as the classroom memories of other outstanding teachers throughout my education have shaped my approach to teaching.
What do you hope for the children in your classroom and/or in the Sycamore community?
My hope for my students as well as other students would be that they learn to embrace failure or being wrong as a stepping stone towards learning and improvement instead of the end of the road. Science is about searching for answers. More often than not, the search leads to being wrong many more times than being right, but scientists continue the search. Kristen Dombek, one of our Spanish teachers, has a great quote from Nelson Mandela posted in the window near her classroom door; “I never lose. I either win, or learn”. When students begin to take that approach to their education they accomplish amazing things.
What is your favorite Sycamore 427 story so far this school year?
Homecoming is always a great story. The staff at the high school works incredibly hard to make it happen and the students always enjoy the week.
What advice do you have for the students in Sycamore?
Set your goals high and be willing to make mistakes. Get involved in all aspects of school, academic and social. Work hard but have fun and enjoy the journey. Four years goes by quickly.