Having taught secondary social studies for over 20 years, I offer a great deal of experience and have been designated a Master Teacher. I’ve designed and taught new courses (e.g., Mexican Government, History of Mexico), introduced and taught two Advanced Placement courses, Psychology and Comparative Government and Politics (College Board audit approved), developed and implemented the standards and benchmarks for five different courses, and served as social studies department head. I have been, and am currently, a Reader of Psychology at the College Board Advanced Placement reading period in June.

More important than my significant content knowledge, considerable experience or professional credentials is my sincere interest in working with high school students. My youthful personality, playful sense of humor, and patience level, positively correlate with the degree of stress, rigor and complexity of the classroom environment. I am seen by students as someone who is approachable, friendly and trustworthy. I have had a quote on my website for many years that reflects the pleasure I derive from spending most of my working hours with teenagers, “Choose a job you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”
My Alma Mater - CU, Boulder

Mt. Hood, Oregon

...............................................MY WORLD>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>........

The second bell rings, the last student scurries past me as I close the door to the hallway. My energy, beta brain waves, and positive emotions are at their peak. I’m in my element.
Imagine jumping into a vertical skydiving tunnel, blasted by the flow of air, tossed and turned by the steady pressure, you soon develop adept control of movements using subtle actions to maintain balance, and enjoy the sensation of floating on a cushion of powerful wind. As a teacher, you have to want and embrace the pressure maintained by student expectations and thrive on the challenge of manipulating the classroom environment to produce learning. The second bell signals the beginning of yet another opportunity to motivate interest and shape attitudes.
Entering the teaching profession in my early thirties, after having spent five years in the military and six years working in various other fields, I soon recognized that I had found a perfect fit. Teaching high school students met many of my intellectual and professional needs, from keeping up to date in world events and scientific research to the challenge of effectively sharing my subject knowledge with, and motivating enthusiasm from, a naturally skeptical group of senior teenagers.
According to objective opinion, such as several principal evaluations, I do a few things particularly well. Reflected in part by the ongoing popularity of my classes and by many graduated students, with whom I maintain contact through emails and visits to my classroom, I create and maintain a positive tone in my classroom. A class environment of high standards, acceptance, openness, and a little fun is, I believe, the foundation of motivated learning.
Another quality of my teaching is my desire to model long-term planning and time management to my students. My principals have praised my thorough, course-length, day-to-day lesson plans, which provide students with all the mechanics of the course (e.g., lesson objectives, assessment instructions and due dates) and the ability to plan ahead. And, in regards to instruction, I continually try new approaches to, and/or the fine tuning of, my lesson designs, reflecting my sincere interest in increasing the quality of student participation. Through backward design, I align assessments and the learning activities with the objectives.
Learning activities are varied and always have multipurpose. For example, I take AP Psychology students (grades 11-12) from exposure and acquisition of new material to application and synthesis in a research methodology unit in which they predict, analyze, and describe, using central tendencies, characteristics of a given population (i.e., numbers of different colors contained in a small bag of M&Ms), creating a standard deviation. At the conclusion they are able to apply descriptive and inferential statistical methods and understand the significance of being able to generalize to all populations of, in this case, M&Ms. In my Mexican Government class (grade 12), students wrote letters to the editor of Monterrey’s largest daily paper (El Norte) throughout the semester, in response to a significant current event or opinion piece. The primary purpose was to motivate effective writing and create better informed citizens but the added bonus comes when many got published. All students then recognized and appreciated that the ideas of a teenager are just as valuable and respected as those of adults.

"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” accurately reflects the harmonious union of my personality and my career."

My Educational Philosophy

Although Shakespeare may have believed that all the world’s a stage, I think that all a school is a stage. An effective school is a place where all students, at some point, have an opportunity to be recognized and shine, to be the stars of their own stage. That stage may be on a basketball-court; in an exhibition of student paintings, in a choir recital, in a heated debate of a Model UN committee, in the computer lab creating animated characters, or as a member of the student council, to name but a few. The more “stages” a school has, opportunities in which students are able to develop their personal strengths and express their unique intelligences and shine, the greater the benefit to the student. The multiple stages that should be a fundamental element of any successful school go beyond those occupied by students. Teachers also need to feel their unique abilities and gifts are appreciated and valued. I firmly believe that, aside from students, the most important element of a successful school is effective teachers. Thus, the critical role of the teacher is to provide as many possible ways for students to demonstrate their strengths.
As a teacher, I strive to find alternative ways to challenge students. The Advanced Placement courses I initiated at my current high school, have resulted in student scores, on the College Board standardized exams, far above the global mean. In the two AP courses I teach (Psychology and Comparative Government and Politics) there are no prerequisites. Students of all abilities enroll in these demanding courses and successfully find a role in the rigorous academic environment and an opportunity to shine and be successful on their own stage while at the same time collaborating and contributing to the success of their classmates. I am proud that the courses I created for the high school socials curricula (e.g., Mexican History, Mexican Government, Introduction to Psychology), including the AP courses, have helped prepare hundreds of students to actively participate in civil society.
Another essential aspect of my educational philosophy is that students must be engaged in “authentic work”. When the audience of a student’s work goes beyond the teacher, when it is placed on some form of stage, such as a classroom, hallway, or library wall display, their work becomes authentic and important in the context of school. And, with the increased spotlight, so too is raised the student’s expectations of their own work. A written activity produced for a teacher, who may or may not truly or thoroughly read it, will not inspire the same level of writing and passion as one created for publication for a larger audience, such as in a school publication, national or local newspaper, magazine or website.
As an educator, I am constantly on stage in the eyes of the students and community. I firmly believe that I must be a role model. Teachers are often a highly visible minority in the community. Everything about us is under scrutiny. The way we drive, our social lives, our sense of humor, our general conduct in and out of school is a reflection not only of each of us individuals, but of our profession as well. We must reflect high standards of professionalism in our dress, speech, and general conduct. The higher our professional standards the higher will be the esteem people should rightfully hold for our profession.