Dr. Mayberry's Background
I must have been in the 3rd or 4th grade when I first discovered it. My love for teaching. The assignment given by our teacher was typical, simple: use our time in the library to find a book about which we would give an oral report some weeks later. After wondering the library on an unsuccessful hunt for the right book, I had already began to feel frustrated. Then I heard the announcement that only a few minutes remained for us to make our final selections. Panic! But then there was hope.
The memory passed through time from that 9-ish year old me to my current self, tells me that the hope came as an actual ray of sunlight shining through the window. Passing through the dusty air in a far corner of the library, it landed on the bottom shelf at precisely the right angle to cause an otherwise unremarkable book to glow! I can just see my 9-ish year old self crouching down and pulling the book from the shelf. A thin book. Time-worn pink. It’s two-word title written in block letters across the front cover: The Heart.
I loved it. For my report I stood at the board and diagrammed the chambers, valves, and major blood vessels of the heart. I then traced the flow of blood from the body to the right side of the heart, then to the lungs, then to the left side of the heart, and finally back to the body. I was enthralled.
Though I knew I loved teaching, choosing it as a career was another story. I got the English Award my senior year of High School, and was convinced my future lie somewhere in the humanities. In college I took classes as a way of browsing careers ranging from politics to geology, but fell somewhere askew as a Zoology major with his sights on Medical School. With an emphasis on Human Biology, this major had the added appeal of feeding my rather spiritual interest in what it means to be human – Hamlet’s words ring still in my heart: “What a piece of work is man?”
It wasn’t until half-way through my junior year that some serious soul searching led me to a moment that was as much personal revelation as it was submission to what I felt had been patiently waiting to be recognized. I wanted to be a teacher.
Finally discovered, my chosen career took some time to realize. After receiving my undergraduate degree in Zoology (not in Education), one of life’s detours led me to a job working at Allstate in their accounting department. Out of place as this may seem, it was in this job that I first began to learn coding as a way of automating some of the routine tasks my job required. My coding skills eventually landed me in the IT support department, and has served me to this day (including building this web site).
Fortunately, a stroke of luck put me back on track when a corporate restructuring saw me laid off with a severance package. This afforded me the time and means to get my teaching certificate in the following months, and led to my first teaching job as an 8th Grade Earth Science Teacher.
Though I felt that I had found myself in teaching, after a couple of years a nagging feeling began telling me that in order to better myself as a teacher I needed to gain greater experience and knowledge in science. So back to school it was to obtain my Masters in Physiology and Developmental Biology, and later my Doctorate in Evolutionary Biology (What a piece of work is man!). Through the years of obtaining my graduate degrees, my love of teaching moved me to find a number of adjunct teaching positions at local universities, and a few Visiting Assistant Professor positions. After completing my Doctoral research, this led me to a full-time position at Canisius College, where I worked for 7 years until May 2018.
The time spent teaching college courses, very often as part of a team of other professors, was an invaluable addition to my education. In many ways I feel that it helped to complete my original intent of returning to school, which was to better myself as a teacher. The years spent preparing courses with other professors, which often included deep discussion and rigorous debate about content and how to best serve our students, has given me insights and a perspective on education that I dare say I could not have gotten in any other way.
Despite the honor it was to work as a college professor, I often looked back on my short time teaching 8th grade science as the ideal job. I often lamented not having the time to work with students to overcome the deficiencies they very often brought with them to college. I lamented that the pace of lectures didn’t afford us the opportunity to use assessments as a tool to know what we needed to go back and revisit. More and more the thought of returning to the secondary classroom began to be attractive to me. Once again fate stepped in. Financial difficulties within the college led the administration to eliminate a number of positions, one of which was mine. When the news came, out of habit I began looking for college level openings, but literally felt sick every time I looked at a job posting. In contrast, the thought of finding a high school position where I could focus on teaching, and employ all that I had learned since leaving my 8th grade position for graduate school, felt like returning home.
So it was that after receiving a number of offers, we (my family, which had now grown to include my wife and 4 children) decided to accept a position at Castle View High School in Castle Rock, Colorado, which began in August of 2018.
The path leading me to my current position has been anything but typical. Yet each step along the way has given me unique experience, knowledge, skills, and perspectives that match my passion for teaching. I look forward to many years of continued growth as a teacher.
Dr. Mayberry's Education
Dr. Mayberry's Family
My wife and I met during the summer in between finishing my last year of teaching 8th grade earth science outside Forth Worth, Texas, and moving to Provo, Utah to start Gradaute shool. We fell so insanely in love that we couldn't stand the thought being separated. So after little more than 2 months we decided to get married. She has followed me across the country from Texas, to Utah, to Idaho, to New York, and finally to Colorado. Along the way we have produced four beautiful children, who are all growing up way too fast. I am so tickled by how unique each one of them is. I am so grateful for all our family traditions. I love you all!
Dr. Mayberry's Interests
At the time of writing, time is short, so too will be this list. Perhaps when time allows me to spend more time on these interests I will also find time to write a bit more
- Cross Country Running: its how I enjoy the outdoors, and hope to live to be a vigorous centenarian.
- Coding: I developed this web site using nothing other than Notepad++ and the help of a few web-sites, notably w3schools.com. Though primarily written using HTML, much of the development employs PHP and VisualBasic for Applications.
- Camping and Hiking: I fell in love with the outdoors as a boy when we lived on the edge of a forest with creek in the front yard and would go camping in the Poconos (Pennsylvania). I am Looking forward to this summer when I can take advantage of the Rocky Mountains with my family.
- Piano: I haven't played as much as I would like since my children were born, but still get enjoyment from revisiting old songs that I used to be able to play well. Just don't listen too closely.
- Chess: I've never been very good, but have enjoyed playing since my Dad taught me when I was about 10 years old. I almost always have a game or two going on Chess.com (they've also got an excellent phone app by the same name). My usernmae is jrmayberry...sign up and challenge me if you like.
- Games: I'd almost always prefer to play a good game than stare aimlessly at the TV. Catan. Risk. Pandemic. Monopoly. Mexican Train. Stratego. Rummy Cube. These are just a few of my favorites. But don't get me wrong, I do also enjoy a good show! Science Fiction please.
- Home Projects: The last house we lived in (outside Buffalo, NY) was a bit of a fixer-upper. In our 11 years living there, I remodeled virtually the entire house, including rewiring the entire house for both electrical and data, refinishing or replacing most of the flooring, and modernizing the kitchen and bathroom. Our house here in Colorado could use some attention too, but I'll have to wait for the time and money to do so.
- Candy: Snickers Bars (Almond is the best). Chocolate Covered Cherries. Peppermint Patties. Reeces Peanut Butter Cups. The list goes on.
- Astronomy and Cosmology: I remember laying in our back yard in Texas and looking up at the stars through my Dad's binoculars. Do you still have those Dad? I have my own pair now. I've tried to pass my love for space to my children. I'm hoping they'll always remember seeing the transit of Venus, sleeping on blankets in our back-yard in New York to watch the super-moon total lunar eclipse, and traveling to Grandma and Grandpa's to watch the total solar eclipse. There is little that I find more inspiring than the immensity and beauty of the universe.
- Family: Besides being a teacher, the only other thing I've really wanted to be was a Dad. I thank my beautify wife for our four wonderful children. My family is the joy of my life.
Dr. Mayberry's Contact Information
Dr. Mayberry can be contacted using his Castle View email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Parents, please feel free to email me with any questions or concerns you may have. Our common greatest interest is the welfare and success of your child.
Students, feel free to email me with special concerns you may have, or to make an appointment to meet with me outside of class. However, please avoid asking content questions in email; what takes 30 minutes to answer ineffectively in an email can be addressed much more effectively in a 5 minute conversation.