Maine East High School teacher David Schultz has been named Outstanding High School Physics Teacher of the Year from the Illinois section of the American Association of Physics Teachers, Maine Township High School District 207 announced Thursday.
Schultz was nominated by other teachers at Maine East, citing his work with students that led to solar panels being installed at the Park Ridge school. This project was an outgrowth of Schultz’s involvement with a Renewable Energy Club, which began focusing on the use of solar and wind energy.
“This project started as a result of district training and in-service work in problem-based learning going back about five years,” Schultz said. “In problem-based learning, the emphasis is picking a project and then exposing students to a certain discipline or related disciplines needed to do the project.”
A teacher for eight years at Maine East, Schultz was also recognized for inspiring students to learn more about physics by incorporating interesting activities and topics into classroom instruction, including lectures, demonstrations, labs and student projects.
“I actually build a lot of the equipment that I use for demonstrations and labs,” Schultz said. “From the minute class starts, my students are engaged in learning. I am enthusiastic about physics and I want students to share in that excitement. I serve up the basics, but do so by making as many connections to the real world and to cutting edge research as possible.”
Schultz currently teaches advanced-placement physics C.
This is the first time a District 207 teacher has received the Outstanding High School Physics Teacher of the Year Award. The first award was given in 1981.