This will be my first year at Woods. I grew up in this area, attending North Chatham Elementary and Northwood High School before going to the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in high school. I was always aware of Woods as that funny school next to the pizza place at Cole Park. When I went away to get my undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, I wasn't planning on becoming a teacher - it took me several years to decide between a degree in Poetry or Botany. I eventually got my BS in Biology in 2008, before going on to work a series of jobs (Elmo's waiter, NC State crop science lab tech, IT tech at UNC Children's Hospital). In 2016, my wife Amanda completed her Masters degree in City and Urban Planning, and we decided we should do something exciting. We moved to New Zealand.
My mother is from New Zealand, so I am a dual citizen. We decided we would live there for a few years, and that I would train as a teacher there. The parts of my jobs that I had always enjoyed the most were the parts where I could explain something to someone in a way that made sense to them, so teaching seemed like a good fit for me. We moved to Christchurch, a moderately sized city in the South Island of New Zealand, and I attended the University of Canterbury and got a Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Secondary), with a focus in biology and chemistry. I then started working at a high school called Hagley Community College, a 5-year inner-ciry high school specializing in students who had left their previous schools and wanted to return to education. This meant that my students included refugees, students with serious illnesses, students who had left their previous school due to discipline issues, and adults who needed high school credits. It was an amazing place to work.
In 2019, I had a son named Julian, and shortly thereafter started planning to return to North Carolina to be closer to family. COVID put a delay in this plan, but eventually I made it here. I am extremely excited to work at Woods, and love being back in my home area.