It’s been a long strange trip!
Right now, most people know me as a biology educator and one of the handful of mentors on the College Board’s AP Biology listserve. I teach AP Biology and Regents (NYS 10the grade) Biology at Division Avenue High School in Levittown (America’s 1st suburb!), Long Island, New York. I have actually taught biology at many levels over the course of 25 years. I used to teach Introductory Biology at Cornell and also served as the laboratory coordinator for the Cornell Institute for Biology Teachers. I developed CIBT’s popular Lending Library Program in which biology teachers can borrow equipment kits to perform biotech labs in their classrooms.
I am the publisher of the ExploreBiology.com Web site, offering biology teaching and learning resources. I am also the author of the Instructors Guide for the AP Biology edition of the popular Raven & Johnson textbook from McGrawHill.
But it’s been an eclectic path along the way and I’ve tried on many hats. In the 80s, I was a baker running a natural foods bakery outside of Ithaca, NY. In the 90s, I worked for CNN and CNNfn helping launch their news Web sites. In the early 2000s, I launched my own dot-com company developing Web sites for large enterprises. I also returned to the family farm for a while and helped run our flowering perennials nursery. But I’ve always come back to teaching. That is the only endeavor that left me satisfied and excited on a daily basis.
And I bring this eclectic life into the classroom. I have never approached teaching as all you need to do is walk into a classroom and lecture, then walk out again. I believe a classroom is a setting for exploration and learning, so my classroom is always filled with ongoing projects, lots of plants, interesting critters, intriguing oddities, models, and the occasional out of place tshatshke just to keep the students wondering. My biggest pet peeve about science teaching is approaching biology as a second language — making it an exercise in vocabulary memorization — rather than an approach to questioning how the world works and on the flipside an understanding of interwoven concepts explaining how the world works. And ultimately, I believe if it’s fun to do, it’s easy to learn.
My life is measured in seasons. My interests extend to gardening, birdwatching, hiking, camping, mountain biking, snowboarding, kayaking, and sailing. Life is rounded out with two growing children, 2 dogs, 2 snakes, a turtle, a bearded dragon, a degu and waaaay too many mice.