IMG_1192.JPGGeneral Teaching Philosophy

Art Education

“Art does not reproduce what we see; rather, it makes us see.” ~Paul Klee

“Teaching people to draw is teaching people to look.” ~David Hockney

Art is for everyone, not just for those with special talents or students planning on a career in art.

Obviously Arts encourage creativity, problem solving, opportunities for empathy, self-reflection (and therefore personality development), and personal expression.

But we also have an urgent need for visual literacy. Art is too often marginalized as "enrichment," and thought to just be about "feelings."

Art plays a vital role in the development of conceptual thinking, critical thinking, and communication skills.

In today's hyper-visual society it is imperative that students develop perceptual and design skills, not only so that they can communicate more effectively, but so that they can be more effective consumers of visual, especially online communications.

Social Studies

“History teaches everything including the future.” ~Lamartine

“The supreme purpose of history is a better world.” ~Herbert Hoover

I believe in helping students make connections. I believe that Social Studies is more than just names and dates, battles, elections and inventions. I emphasize concepts and principles within the five major themes of geography, history, economics, political science and human interaction. As a middle school Civics teacher, I've tried to help students frame all of U.S and state government and economics through the conceptual lenses of three core democratic principles found in the Declaration of Independence; equality, liberty, and the social contract. When I taught Geography and World History, I tried to help students recognize the similarities of other peoples and cultures to their own experience. In American History, I did everything I could to get students to compare and contrast events in our past with contemporary ones, so that they could realize the continuity and change that have brought us to where we are today.

Not only is it convenient as an Art teacher to integrate Social Studies and the visual arts, but when possible, I like to collaborate with teachers in other disciplines as well. I believe its important to make analogies between social, political and economic systems and both language and the sciences. I also do everything I can to bring my experience as a journalist and technology/student-publications teacher into my Social Studies classes as well.

Vocational/Information Technology

“It is not about the technology; it’s about sharing knowledge and information, communicating efficiently, building learning communities and creating a culture of professionalism in schools. These are the key responsibilities of all educational leaders”. – Marion Ginapolis

When it comes to classes like Digital Photography, Yearbook, and Web Design/Programming, the tools keep changing. So the trick is not to focus so much on the technology as what students can do with the technology. Especially when it comes to student publications, I've always believed that my job is to help students become aware of what's going on around them, process it, and "package" it to share it with others. That, after all is the new literaccy; access, understand, and act on information.


"A coach's primary function should not be to make better players, but to make better people." ~John Wooden

I've always believed that coaching is as much or more about helping kids develop character and mentoring them than about just cheering at games.

The National Federation of State High School Spirit Associations’ official rules book states the first duty of Cheerleading is to “boost school spirit, promote good sportsmanship, and develop good positive crowd involvement Cheerleaders are in a position of great influence, therefore” …"high standards of conduct are essential. Cheerleaders can become the schools most effective student leaders.”

As a coach, I tend to agree with this philosophy. The primary purpose of cheerleading is to promote a sense of identity, unity and community. Cheerleaders should not only support the other teams and organizations on campus, but should deliberately work at creating a positive climate and culture among the student body. Cheerleading is also a tremendous opportunity to develop important qualities in students like confidence, cooperation & collaboration, and a positive outlook in general.

When I left Lutheran High for a public school, I couldn't use materials from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes anymore. That's when I discovered John Wooden's Pyramid of Success. I use these 15 blocks to help build better squads- I'd like to think they've also helped build better people.