Shea Phillips had his choice of California schools to teach at this year and chose because of his high regard for the school including the common philosophy they share, hard work and aspiration toward achieving a higher education. La Jolla Patch got to know Phillips and what he hopes to bring to The Preuss School.
Patch: Tell me a little bit about yourself and your teaching experience.
Shea Phillips: I was born in Florida, went to school at Pitzer College in L.A. where I got my BA in Physics and then continued at Claremont College for my Masters in Education. I just spent the last year living in Quebec, Canada where I met my fiancé and got to teach at a private school for hockey players.
Patch: Wow, Canada school for hockey players? Are you a hockey player yourself or what made you choose the school?
Phillips: No, I’m not a hockey player, but I became very involved during my undergrad years with a type of education called “outdoor education” and I worked with the Naturalists at Large program in Ventura. There was a similar school in Canada that I was hired to teach at, but when I got there it had been closed down, so I decided to travel around Canada and ended up finding the hockey school.
Patch: That’s quite a story! Did you learn a lot?
Phillips: I learned a lot about Canadian culture while I was there. I taught physics, chemistry, and math for 10th through 13th grades. The guys even showed me how to play hockey.
Patch: How did you come to apply and accept at The Preuss School?
Phillips: My fiancé and I wanted to move to California and The Preuss School is an amazing school. I was also given an offer by Mammoth and turned it down for Preuss. It’s a great school and San Diego is a great place to live.
Patch: Tell me about what you’ll be teaching.
Phillips: I’ll be teaching geometry and algebra 2, as well as an advisory called KBAC, Kick Back And Calculate. The advisory that the school has put into place is great, I get to follow the same class of students through til they graduate. This is where the students really learn about organization and life skills and I get to be a mentor and a teacher.
Patch: I understand that you’ll also be taking on the Ecology Club this year?
Phillips: That’s right, it’s going to be a lot of work. The last teacher really built it up and created a legacy with around 100 students coming every meeting, but couldn’t do it this year. I’m glad I stepped it and it’s going to be exciting.
Patch: Tell me more about The Preuss School and why you have such a fondness for it.
Phillips: The Preuss School takes on first year college bound students, which means neither parent can have attended college. Most kids are on free or reduced cost lunch. The school has really taken on the education gap and because students have to apply, you get students who are serious about their education. The school’s philosophy is dialed and effective. As a new teacher, it’s a lot of work, but this year I’m going to grow a lot as a professional and as a math teacher. Also, the school is in session an extra month, which means the students and the teachers are serious about education.
Patch: What do you hope to bring to the kids this year?
Phillips: I really try to connect the curriculum with the real world and experiences that the students have. I want to get rid of the question: “Why do we have to learn this?” though active participation.