Hello! I am very excited to be joining the Whitewater Unified School District for 2016-17. After spending years in management, I returned to school as an adult student to pursue a career that I would find personally meaningful. I fell in love with teaching math while obtaining a national Level 3 Master Tutor certification at PASS (Panther Academic Support Services) during my undergraduate career at UW-Milwaukee. I found (to my surprise, at first) that not only did math fascinate me intellectually, but the satisfaction I felt in helping others to understand it fulfilled me on a deeper level. There is nothing like the feeling you get when you see a student conquer a concept that they thought they couldn't.
I've had the experience of feeling frustrated and foolish in a math class. I had some professors who looked at me like I was from another planet when I asked questions! Those experiences helped to shape my philosophy as a teacher. Students should always be challenged, yes; but they should also feel that their questions and attempts are valuable--because they are: that's where the learning happens!
I graduated cum laude with my Bachelor's in Mathematics in 2014 after a sequence of tough but fascinating courses in multivariate calculus, abstract algebra, probability modeling, and other weird, wonderful stuff. Having decided to pursue a teaching career, I was fortunate enough to be accepted to UW-Madison's top-ranked teacher education school. I spent a year student teaching in the Madison Public Schools as part of that program. As the students learned some math from me, I learned a whole lot about the power of building trustful and respectful student-teacher relationships from them. The fun and challenging experiences I had helped to reinforce my emerging belief that those relationships are the foundation that makes all learning possible. In my classroom, no question is foolish, every idea is valuable (even if it only shows us what not to do), and conjectures and "wonderings" are encouraged. Wondering lies at the heart of what mathematicians actually do!
This year (2016) I completed my Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction, with a dual Wisconsin certification in Secondary Mathematics and English as a Second Language. While searching over recent months for a place to make a career, I have been incredibly impressed by how friendly, dedicated to students, and professional the staff of the Whitewater District is. It became clear to me that this is a place that shares my values, where students are cared about AND held to high standards (and so are the teachers). This fall I will be teaching pre-algebra and geometry at the middle school, and advanced math and statistics at the high school. The staffs of both schools have welcomed me warmly and with open arms.... I am so proud to be joining this team!
In my spare time, I enjoy all things "Star Wars"--I mean, I am truly an addict. I'm the guy who can tell you who the guy behind the guy behind Darth Vader was in the movie. I live in Madison, and I love the bike trails there--a long thirty-mile ride on a beautiful summer day past Monona Terrace and over the Southwest Path is the best! I am the proud daddy of a ten year-old kitty named Sweetpea, and I spoil her with way too many cans of Fancy Feast. I also love to cook, though grad school squashed that particular habit out of me temporarily.
I look forward to being a part of this fantastic school and community over the coming months and years!