How long have you taught with Reach for Excellence?
I have taught at REACH for 3 years.
What do you teach?
I teach computer science and engineering to 7th, 8th, and 9th-grade scholars.
Where did you go to school?
That is an interesting question. I completed degrees at three Universities:
Temple University: Bachelor of Music
George Mason University: Master of Arts in Music
Georgia Institute of Technology: Master of Science in Computer Science
How would you describe yourself in middle school?
I was a quirky student interested in music, math, acting, and writing. I went to school in the 1980s and was also a big fan of “Andy Rooney” on 60 minutes (Yes, I was that kind of kid . . .). I had a weekly morning show on the announcements at Middle School where I did a comedy routine kind of like a “ranting video” you see today on YouTube in the style of Andy Rooney.
So, I was different and not afraid to be different.
What was your favorite book, music, or movie when you were in middle school?
Again, I was a quirky kid. We read the To Kill a Mockingbird in 8th Grade and The Grapes of Wrath in 9th Grade. Both of these books really spoke to me and started me on the journey of seeking justice and fairness for the people around me. To this day, those are still some of my favorite books.
Why did you choose to teach with Reach for Excellence?
Justice and Equity. Students graduating from REACH have a solid background in the Academic subjects but then go to High School and take computer science and engineering courses with other students who attend summer camps with enrichment in computer science and other subjects. The goal of REACH Computer Science and Engineering is to equip and empower students with culturally and economically relevant skills in computer science and engineering. Through hands-on activities and authentic tools, students in REACH get the same experiences that other students get at various summer camps and enrichment programs across the county. Thus, when REACH students get to high school and take their first programming or engineering course, they already have the vocabulary, skills, and knowledge that prepare them for future studies.
When I worked at Summer Camps at Georgia Tech, Ms. Barbara Ericson really impressed on us the importance of computer science access for all students. She challenged us to build programs that increased the diversity of students in STEM. Working at REACH allows me to continue this mission of bringing Computer Science to all students in the Atlanta area.
Tells us about your teaching philosophy…
My philosophy and mission of teaching are to empower students with knowledge, wisdom, and skills in computer science and engineering so they can create and work in a community that brings people together. Students should not be consumers of technology but create with technology.
What is your favorite aspect of teaching Middle school students?
My favorite aspect of working with Middle School students is that you get to disciple and walk alongside the student as they transition from childhood to the beginning of their adult journey. In three short years, a middle school student transforms into a new human being. Teaching middle school is a great privilege in that you get to be part of this transformation.
What is your favorite Reach for Excellence memory?
I love driving the bus. Meeting the students each morning and making our way from Clarkston to Marist and back every day was one my high points in REACH. Listening to the students’ stories and navigating traffic together helped me learn more about their lives, dreams, and goals.
What’s your claim to fame?
I really do not have one. I am just a simple man making his way in the universe . . .