I began teaching at GCMS as a Student Teacher with Mrs. Kinkle in September 2007. In March of 2008 I took over Mrs. Halkias' science class when she left to have her 1st baby daughter. After she returned, I taught 8th grade science for 2 years in West Milford. This is the start of my 11th year back at GCMS and I am extremely excited to begin a new year with you.The Caldwell/West Caldwell school district began a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) initiative six years ago and we at GCMS have been at the forefront of that new program. Along with my role as a regular science teacher, I am excited to be teaching the newly formed iSTEM course to 8th graders. This course will cover the same topics as the typical science course but will include a large infusion of engineering design, a new requirement outlined in the Next Generation Science Standards. It will integrate all of the STEM content areas into project-based activities that will make real-world connections for each student. iSTEM will teach participants how a true student-driven classroom functions rather than the typical teacher-driven model and begin planting the seeds for additional STEM related course-work in high school and beyond.I graduated from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ in 1978 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. I then received my teacher certification from Caldwell University in 2007 and my Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction, also from Caldwell University, in May 2010. Interestingly, from 1978-2008, I worked in and managed a funeral home in Elizabeth, NJ so I have many stories to tell about that portion of my life. I am a 3-time Maitland Simmons Scholar, having been selected to attend their summer workshop at Rutgers where I learned many wonderful ways to teach middle school science. I have also participated in and facilitated numerous workshops related to STEM education at TCNJ and Montclair State University as well as several long-distance learning seminars on-line. In the summer of 2017, I was selected to attend a two-week workshop for Middle School Science Teachers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Md.
I am married and have a daughter who is a graduate of George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. and is currently employed at Social Impact in Arlington, Va., a global development company. I love sports and my favorite teams are the Yankees (but I love baseball in general), Jets, and Knicks. However, I root for the Giants (football), and Celtics (basketball) when they are not playing my favorite teams. I work out at a local gym, swim like a fish in the summer, walk everywhere I can, and ride a stationary bike at a SPIN class often. I read anything and everything, like to travel (I have been to Florida, South Dakota, Nova Scotia, Canada, Argentina and Peru and most recently to the Imperial Cities of Prague, Vienna, and Budapest in Eastern Europe. I also consider myself a beach bum (Long Branch and Ocean Grove are my favorite places).
But most of all, I am looking forward to all of the wonderful things this new year will bring.