After your 28-year public school teaching career — including 20 years at your alma mater, Hartford Union High School — why were you interested in teaching at St. Mary’s Springs?
I was familiar with St. Mary’s Springs because my kids went to high school there. Being Catholic, I had hoped at some point that I could teach at a Catholic school so I could teach the entire person — mind and spirit.
What is your favorite thing about teaching at SMSA?
I love it when we have our optional Mass at 7:35 a.m. Fridays with Fr. Justin Weber. After attending Mass, it makes me so happy to teach when some of the students in my classes were also at Mass. Seeing student Mass attendance grow this year has been so encouraging.
What’s an example or examples of the kind of faith references you can make teaching science at a Catholic school?
I like to compare the dual nature of light (wave and particle) to the dual nature of the light of the world, Jesus (fully God, fully human). I think God has hidden many clues to his nature in the study of the natural world, in addition to our Catholic faith. To me, faith and reason completely go together.
How does your interest and appreciation for science in general complement your Catholic faith?
I like to approach the study of science and the use of natural resources from a stewardship perspective. The beauty and order of creation shows the beauty and order of a Creator.
Are there any career highlights you want to share?
The biggest career highlights for me are finding out about the things my former students have achieved. Ultimately, it is not what a teacher knows or does, it’s how well they prepare young people to know and do things with their lives.
Your three children are SMSA grads who have attended Catholic colleges. Tell us a little about them.
Our oldest son Gabe graduated from University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota. He had a fantastic experience there earning his degree in electrical engineering. He met his wife Zoe, also a faith-filled Catholic, at the University of Mary, as well. Our daughter Leah graduated from St. Norbert College with a degree in physics. She continues to attend a Catholic school as she pursues her Ph.D. in physics at Notre Dame University. If you include kindergarten, she is in her 17th year of Catholic education. Our younger son Joseph currently attends St. Norbert College, where he is a biology major and is currently discerning his career pathway while attending college.
Can you describe your relationship with Jesus?
Jesus has always been part of my life. My parents were young Catholic parents married only one year when I showed up. They had me baptized and sacrificed greatly so I could attend a Catholic school at St. Hubert’s in Hubertus. Because of my Catholic formation early in life, I do not have an interesting conversion story. However, each day I try to grow more in the faith that was planted within me early in my life.
Who are your biggest Catholic influences today?
Locally Fr. Nathan Reesman, Fr. Kevin Harmon and Fr. Justin Weber are my biggest Catholic influences. My confessors, Fr. Rick Stoffel and Fr. Russell Arnett, are also very important to me, although I’d doubt either knows who I am. From the perspective of a scientist, Fr. Robert Spitzer’s work has helped me to weave my scientific knowledge seamlessly into my faith life.
What do you like to do for fun?
I am an avid angler, and I especially enjoy fishing with my dad. I enjoy being part of Trout Unlimited and love working to improve cold-water habitat for trout. I have read five books on trout fishing by Jay Ford Thurston. Last summer, I even got to meet him and fish with him. I make maple syrup each spring as well.
What podcasts are you listening to?
I like to listen to podcasts from the Real Presence Radio Network because I find their programming spiritually uplifting. I wish we had Real Presence Radio in the Milwaukee area.
What is your favorite movie of all time?
I love “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” The references to the salvation story are my favorite parts of that movie.
What is your favorite holiday or holy day?
My favorite holiday is Easter because the fact that Jesus came back to life after dying on the cross is the single biggest event in human history and has personally made my faith life possible.