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One of the first Nationally Board Certified teachers in America, Rick brings innovation, energy, and validity to his writing, presentations, and his instructional practice, which includes 38 years teaching math, science, English, physical education, health, history, and coaching teachers and principals. Rick’s work has been reported in numerous media, including ABC’s “Good Morning America,” “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” National Geographic and Good Housekeeping magazines, What Matters Most: Teaching for the 21st Century, and the Washington Post. He is a columnist for AMLE Magazine, and a frequent contributor to ASCD’s Educational Leadership magazine. He is the author of the award-winning book, Meet Me in the Middle, as well as the best-selling book, Fair Isn’t Always Equal: Assessment and Grading in the Differentiated Classroom, Revised Edition, and Differentiation: From Planning to Practice, Day One and Beyond, Metaphors & Analogies: Power Tools for Teaching any Subject.
With his substantive presentations, sense of humor, and unconventional approaches, he’s been asked to present to educators in all 50 states, Canada, China, Europe, Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, Korea, Australia, the Middle East, and at the White House. In 1996, Rick was Disney’s American Teacher Awards Outstanding English Teacher of the Nation. In 2008, he won the James P. Garvin award from the New England League of Middle Schools for Teaching Excellence, Service, and Leadership, and in 2017, he wrote and directed, “The Declaration of Middle Level Independence” performed at the Philadelphia Convention Center. Rick has been a consultant for National Public Radio, USA Today, Court TV, and the Smithsonian Institution’s Natural Partners Program and their search for the Giant Squid. Rick and his wife, Kelly, have two, adult-aged children and they live in Herndon, Virginia. He is currently working on a new book on how to change a school and community culture for standards-based grading.
Every so often while working with educators, Rick gets philosophical about what he does. When asked by Stenhouse to describe what motivated him to be a teacher, Rick replied:
“I teach to dispel the dark and remind the universe that we are not inconsequential. I teach because it’s infinitely compelling to watch dynamic souls punch through their not so elastic cocoons of childhood, daring the community to accept their forward motion. Brushing complacency’s dust from every day ideas and objects by viewing them through children’s eyes opens our own, and it connects us to that golden, “What if…?” superhero in our earlier selves. I teach because setting a constructive example for my students generates a greater ethic in me than I can achieve without their example or provocation. I teach because I am deeply, unrepentantly grateful for life, and the most potent way I know to express that gratitude is to build a world worthy of the next generation, then give them the tools to make it their own.”
This, and breakfast burritos, strong-flavored teas, a passionate interest in science, a good sense of humor, and bike touring get him through the day.