CJ Thompson

Professional Development Expert

I received a BS in Education from the University of Michigan. I was a general science major and an earth science minor. I found my way to Houston, Texas where I taught for a dozen years with mostly middle school students and almost always with nonnative speakers of English. I pursued a Master’s degree from Mississippi State while serving as a science specialist in an elementary school. I also worked on curriculum development and teacher training for many years before coming to work for Accelerate Learning. Why I joined STEMcoach I have always loved science. I feel, though, that my relationship with the subject has matured and deepened over the years. At first, I loved science simply for the cool vocabulary and interesting trivia. Now, I see science and STEM as a set of essential skills everyone needs. I want to work with the Accelerate Learning team on its mission to help teachers create classrooms where students gain these essential skills. What I do at STEMcoach My years of providing professional development, face-to-face, along with my more recent experiences in the online environment of MOOCs has informed my educational philosophy when it comes to professional development. I hope to infuse my philosophy into all the components that I contribute to on STEMcoach. The challenges we provide for teachers reflect my philosophy: anything we ask a teacher to do should be something that can be used in the classroom. My hope for the future classroom . . . My vision for future classrooms is one that looks more like a workshop or maker space rather than a lecture hall. I would like education to focus on asking students to work collaboratively to solve problems and design solutions. I want to begin with the interesting task so that students can see the big picture and have real-world goals in mind as they choose and develop skills. In my spare time . . . I love to cook. I prepare nearly all the meals in my household and, once a week, prepare a big family dinner for my wife, four daughters, and their respective significant others. I am also an avid crafter—sewing, crocheting, and engaging in other forms of creative art. When weather permits, l enjoy walks or bike rides with my wife.