Degrees and Certifications:
B.A. English B.S. Secondary Education - English Education & Theatre Arts Education M.A. Creative Writing and Literature for Educators
These are some historic times. The kind of times children in the future will ask us about (when they're not looking at their devices anyway). How will you answer them? How do we immerse ourselves in and make the most of life when we have to remain distant from each other or run the risk of someone we love getting sick and possibly dying? Books in general and fiction in particular have always given us an alternative world that can expand and complement the one we're in. As an English teacher, that is one of the things I can offer and promote to help. Enough of all that though.
The kid you see pictured here had no idea what the future had in store for him. He Graduated from Washburn High School in Minneapolis, and later the University of Minnesota. He got his MA in Creative Writing and Literature from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He has taught English and Theatre as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia, North Branch, Minnesota, Istanbul, Turkey, Ramsey Jr. High and finally here at Johnson High School. He has taken field trips with his students to The International Schools in Brussels and Amsterdam and castles in Scotland, and he's been professionally developed in Stratford-on-Avon. Sitting in my 10th grade English class at Washburn, if someone had told me this would be my future, I never would have believed them. I sincerely believe each and every one one of my students has the same potential.
I love Johnson High School! It is an inspiring place. My wife is a teacher with St. Paul Public Schools (Eastern Heights) and my two kids are students in Saint Paul Public Schools. My son, Sam, goes to Como High School but plays hockey for Johnson, so I'm all in. I get passionate about our schools because they're so important and get frustrated by those who would criticize without first looking at all of the resources we have to offer our students. These are our schools and they should shine as much as we all can!
I run the Poetry Out Loud program here at Johnson. Here's a link to their website: Poetry Out Loud. Johnson senior, Alina Vang, took in 2nd place in the state in 2019 and the Minnesota state champ went on to win the national competition (and $20,000!). Fortunately, Poetry Out Loud will still happen despite COVID 19! It looks like it's moving to a virtual presentation format. It's not ideal, but it's better than canceling it all together.
I also coordinate and edit Johnson's artisitic and literary magazine The Mirror. I am proud to mention The Mirror received a rating of "Excellent" from the National Council of Teachers of English for the 2018/19 edition. The 2020 addition looks to be even better. I gotta give a shout out to the editors: Maixong Yang and Lillianna Vang for having done such an amazing job of putting the magazine together on time despite EVERYTHING that happened last spring. You two are AMAZING!!!
If you're a creative writer, share your stuff with me so the editors can consider it for publication!
Schoology has become my "go to" site for finding most handouts and updates, so check there if that's what you're here for.
The best way to contact me is via my email: firstname.lastname@example.org. If I ever get my classroom back, you may call (651)744-3626 between 8:30 and 9:00 in the morning during my prep. You may also call and ask to leave a voice mail message at (651)293-8890 - my voice mail extension is 1401. I am generally available after-school at the same numbers (whenever we can safely get back to that world).
DO NOT email questions to my stpaul.k12.mn.us address as I do not check it as often.
It's really hard to focus on the particulars of academics given the conflicts we're fighting with these days, but try. Try as hard as you can. Find that place in your heart that will never stop improving yourself. It's not easy. That's normal. Let's just do this one little step at a time.
Thanks for stopping by.