I am now in my 13th year of teaching at River Ridge High School. My teaching career follows 22 years of experience in the Automotive industry, as an ASE Master Automotive Technician, a credentialed Washing State Journeyman Automotive Technician, which requires serving and training with an 8,000-hour apprenticeship program. I have also taught the apprenticeship program, something I did for 7 years in the evenings at SPSCC, and I was in prison for 3 years at the Washington Correction Center in Shelton. Before you get the wrong idea, I will tell you a little more... I was an Automotive Instructor at the prison. I got to go home every night! I also taught for 11 years at Shelton High School prior to coming to River Ridge. Here at “The Ridge”, I teach the Automotive Program, and Material Science. The students and I are also now very involved with the Lacey STEM Fair, The Cool Rides Car Show, and SkillsUSA, a student led leadership and job skills club. I encourage students to do way more than just come to school to “sit and get” an education. I'm all about doing as much hands-on participation type of learning with my kids, and getting involved with their larger community, outside the classroom.
Our Automotive Maintenance course is growing and is taught two periods a day each semester. Students are really encouraged to sign up for Beginning Automotive one Semester and Intermediate Automotive which is taught the second semester. Beginning Automotive is primarily about some do it yourself maintenance, and the basics of vehicle ownership. Intermediate Automotive takes the students into more of the automotive systems and repairs. Seven years ago, I added Material Science Technology to the course offerings I instruct. I currently teach Material Science 3 class periods a day. It is split into Material Science I & Material Science II so more students could take advantage of participating in this course, even if they only have a .5 credit available during a year to use for enrollment. Material Science is the Science about “stuff” the things in our world are made of.
It is very hands on, with perhaps 100-120 labs and demos to capture a student's interest. It is recommended that students take both Mat-Sci I & Mat-Sci II to see and experience all the things we do. This has become one of my new passions. I like to think of my course as "Smash Lab" for High School. Last year in Material Science, students also had involvement with some metal fabrication as well as other materials we are utilizing on the Ford Model A project. Students will be expected to design, plan, and complete projects using a wide variety of materials. One of my goals this year with Material Science and Automotive, is to make those connections to service and manufacturing processes and great paying careers!
To further involve and encourage students to expand their horizons, this year I will be advising a section of SkillsUSA, with after school time for students to work on projects in our “Fab Lab” and Auto Shop. We want students to attend Leadership Conferences and Skills Contest with the SkillsUSA Club. We have a Leadership Training Camp for two days in October. It's an overnight experience, for students who have decided to join SkillsUSA, where students will participate in lots of team building and personal skills training, aimed at helping them improve their soft skills that employers are so much looking for as they add new employees to their business. While training and learning, both leadership skills and job specific skills, students will also have opportunities to compete with each other in regional and statewide completions. We have done this quite successfully in the past, with many of our students winning state championships, and continuing on to national competition in Louisville, Kentucky after school gets out in June. This is a great thing to be a part of! Encourage your students to join SkillsUSA!
I love working every year with students and the City of Lacey organizing and promoting our Lacey STEM Fair. This is where we showcase the exciting programs offered around our community connecting kids to careers using Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math.
The newest addition to my programs is kind of unique. I am asking my Material Science students to work collaboratively with my Automotive students to build a 1929 Ford Model A from the frame up. I am personally financing the project, but it will serve to teach students in both of the programs I teach some great information and valuable career transferable job skills. My Material Science students will be able to work hands on learning about metallurgy, corrosion, and processes that can be used to do restoration with metals, polymers, ceramics, and composites, while my automotive students will concentrate more on those mechanical repair and restoration processes. Parts we can no longer find, we will design and fabricate. Students will be going out into the community and online to become “American Pickers”, to not only find the parts, but also record the history of the parts that will be brought together to build the complete car. Look for updates on our website to not only include pictures, but in support of our Language Arts, tell the story of this 87 year old automobile we will be building. Their Math skills also come into the picture as they learn to create timelines and control a budget for this project. It's going to interesting and lots of fun!
I am a product of North Thurston Public Schools, a graduate of North Thurston High School, the class of 1973! My ties to this community are lifelong. My children and grandchildren also make the Lacey/Olympia area their home as well.
A lifelong learner, I try to keep my training current so my instructional delivery is as fresh as I can make it for my students. I have been certified as an ASE Master Automotive Technician since 1989, and have retested to re-certify every 5 years, since obtaining that level. I also have several other advanced level certifications for the training I continually expose myself to. High School students take a lot of time and effort! The effort is appreciated on occasion and I have been honored for my association with Career & Technical Education, being awarded as the Washington State CTE Educator of Year in 2004. In 2005, I was also honored as the Teacher of the Year for ESD 113 that serves SW Washington school districts.
I like to spend my summers going to classes that I can use to further enrich what I can offer students who sign up for my exciting class. Sometimes that means trips back to Ohio State University in Columbus Ohio. I always come back with lots of new, fresh material for the kids and I to have fun learning about. I also like to relax a bit, and am an avid camper and traveler as time permits.
STUDENTS & PARENTS! PLEASE SEE THE SYLLABUS FOR THE CLASS IN WHICH YOU OR YOUR STUDENT IS ENROLLED TO LEARN ABOUT MANY IMPORTANT CHANGES THAT HAVE BEEN MADE TO MY COURSES FOR THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR! Homework and most assessments and worksheets are now to be completed online using Skyward Student Access, ProProfs.com, and various Google Apps. There will be a lot of Computer Lab time available during class using our new classroom set of Chromebooks. But, access outside of class time will be also be needed, as students design and complete projects, and some computer based training and assessments. Student computers will be available in the class room before, and quite often after school, for those students without other access. Thank you for encouraging yourself (or parents encourage your student!) to be on-time and present in class every day. When you are in a hands-on class, anytime missed is a learning opportunity you can't make up! Thank you! Let's have a great year!
Material Science Technology I
Period 1: Material Science Technology II
Matreial Science Technology I
Period 2: Material Science Technology II
Material Science Technology I
Period 3: Material Science Technology II
Teacher Planning Period (Prep)
Period 4: Teacher Planning Period (Prep)
Beginning Automotive Service
Period 5: Beginning Automotive Service
Beginning Automotive Service
Period 6: Intermediate Automotive Service