About the Author
I started in 1999 at Shearer Elementary teaching 4th, 5th and then 6th grade. In 2003 Napa Valley Unified School District moved all 6th graders to middle schools, and opened a new middle school called Harvest Middle School. I taught 6th, 7th, and 8th grade math, leadership, and coached soccer there for 9 years before transferring to Napa High School. I'm in the middle of my 5th year at Napa and I've taught Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Math I, Math II, coached swimming, and been a PLC lead. Next year Napa will be starting a new Math 1 Robotics class, and I will be teaching it. Go innovation!! My family consists of my wife, Carrie and my three boys. Carrie works at her family's winery in Napa called Robinson Family Vineyards. My oldest son Sean is a junior at Napa High and plays football and baseball. My second son, Jacks, is a freshman at Napa High and runs cross country and plays baseball. My youngest son Trace is in 4th grade and also plays football and baseball. All three boys raise pigs for 4H as well. Keeps us pretty busy!! I love swimming, mountain biking, backpacking, coaching baseball, staying in our family cabin at Tahoe, visiting family in Nevada City, Truckee, and Boise, watching the San Francisco Giants, 49ers and the Golden State Warriors. I also love playing card games with my boys. Kings Corners, Cribbage, and Speed are our favorites.
Reflections on My Journey
My evolution into a math teacher is an interesting one. I received my bachelor's degree in Psychology from Cal Poly in 1997, and put off my required math classes until my final two quarters. I wasn't a fan of math at all. I struggled with math growing up, so taught myself many tricks, stories, and games to remember rules, etc., and I found myself sharing this tricks with my students. I realized that I would much rather teach math all day long...and coincidentally, that's when NVUSD decided to move 6th graders from elementary to middle and open up Harvest, and they needed math teachers! So I, too, went back to school, and over several years, received my single subject math credential, and have been teaching middle school and high school math ever since.
Lasting Learning From the Innovative Learning Program
My philosophy as a teacher has always been, especially since becoming a math teacher, to make my classroom an environment and culture that students WANT to come into, even if they hate math. I pride myself in the relationships that I build with my students, and making my classroom space inviting and comfortable. If you walk into my room, you see me and my personality on the four walls of our learning space. You will hear students talking and laughing, and hopefully happy to be there. Because I want my students to be comfortable and engaged, I have spent, and will spend, a lot of time thinking about my pedagogy, and the tools that I use in my classroom. In my 18 years of teaching I have continued to learn and grow from other teachers, my students, and a variety of other resources...I'm still a work in progress. I'm not there yet, but I envision a classroom where students are engaged and curious about what we're doing from "bell to bell." This desire to risk, reflect, revise and repeat is what led me to the Innovative Learning Master's Program through Touro University. I have learned, and will continue to learn from this program, and revise and grow my personal pedagogy and technology knowledge.