Ken comes to TREE Academy with 25+ years of professional teaching experience. He has a Clear California Credential valid for teaching Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Earth, and General Science at levels K-12. He received his B.S. in Science Education with multiple emphasis from The University of Iowa and then continued his education at the graduate level. He teaches Science classes at TREE, he will run our FIO Makers Lab, as well as coach our Vex Robotics Team. He will also lead our students on educational outdoor experiences in our local mountains.
Ken taught Middle School science in Racine, WI for the first few years of his career and then moved to Southern California to pursue both his teaching career and his outdoor interests.
He taught 7th grade science in Redondo Beach (and worked at REI on the weekends!) before being intrigued by an unusual job posting: The Long Beach School District was looking for something called a “Trail Teacher”. No other details were given. This led him to interview for and accept a very unique position. He lived in a small cabin and taught at LBUSD’s Outdoor Science School (Camp Hi Hill) for the next 13 years. It was located at 4200’ above sea level in the San Gabriel Mountains near Mount Wilson. Students had the opportunity to spend 5 days and 4 nights living and learning in the Angeles National Forest. At Hi Hill, Ken taught his students Astronomy, Geology, Biology, Ecology, self-reliance, and interpersonal skills while hiking them through the valleys, around the yuccas, and to the tops of the nearby mountains. The outdoor school was closed in 2008 due to liability and budget concerns.
Ken returned to the classroom and taught Middle School science and engineering for the next 9 years. He picked up Robotics when a grant became available for his middle school in 2011. He has taught robotics as a competitive club as well as a very popular elective. His robotics teams dependably finished in the top 5 in yearly district competitions. In the summer of 2017, Ken helped found Tinkering School Pasadena (based on Gever Tully’s model), where he was the lead teacher for the first two years of summer camps. There he taught workshop safety, basic hand tool use, beginning woodworking, power tools use, the design process, hard work, and much more.