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My Name Is ... Tim Smith

Science educator works at SkyView Academy in Highlands Ranch

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About me

My father was a professor of biochemistry. I was born in North Carolina and we traveled around while he was getting his doctorate.

I went to Abilene Christian University for my B.S. in biology and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for my master's in biology. My research includes papers in fish reproduction, ecosystem dynamics, nutrition, gut fermentation, and the effects of pollution on fisheries and natural resources. I've helped restore ecosystems in Illinois, California and Belize.

I've worked as a consultant and researcher. I love teaching, so I went to the University of Denver for its teacher education program. After that, I looked for jobs in high school science and ended up teaching at SkyView Academy.

I have a fiancé, Jocelyn Finch, and we are getting married June 30. I have an ex-wife and daughter who live in Illinois and a son who is a public defender in Jefferson County.

My role at SkyView

I teach three sections of biology. It's my responsibility to teach kids life science requirements for the state of Colorado. For our honors class, we have a project-based learning component. The kids are challenged to create original research that they present at the Denver Metro Regional Science and Engineering Fair.

We are using an inquiry-based, classical model. We start with a question and build on it. We strive to answer questions to our best ability with the resources we have using the scientific method. We are preparing kids to enter college science departments and the working world.

What I love about my job

I love seeing kids excited about learning. I love seeing kids take on challenges and accomplish things that at first seem impossible. They are able to grow into the role of learner and researcher. It's not easy. These projects aren't simple — they are designed to uncover real information.

This year, we have a student who is doing very well in science competitions. She wanted to develop antibiotic glue. In class, we were able to figure out a rigorous way to test her product development and implementation. She placed second in the Denver Science and Engineering Fair and she last week she won the Junior Science in Humanities Symposium.

We try to give kids the space and time to think creatively and the support to do rigorous science research. My research background was where I learned the most about science.

Fun fact

I have a minor in the visual arts and I have sold quite a few paintings and drawings over the years. Most people don't know that.

If you have suggestions for My Name Is..., contact Alex DeWind at adewind@coloradocommunitymedia.com

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