Last fall, Rowland Hall welcomed two new members of our science faculty: Upper School chemistry teacher Marcus Milling and Middle School science teacher Melissa Sharp. Both science educators—who are also married—have been teaching in the United States and abroad for the past 20 years, most recently at the Lincoln Community School in Accra, Ghana. Ms. Sharp, who grew up in central New York, considers herself lucky to have taught in diverse educational settings. "Each opportunity has allowed me to question my perspective, think deeply about humanity, and ask again and again why I do what I do as an educator," she said.
Mr. Milling first began teaching in graduate school, and once he realized how much he enjoyed helping students, the path ahead seemed clear. "Physics and chemistry are the studies of the fundamental mechanisms of how our universe operates, from the large-scale study of galaxies to the small-scale examination of electrical circuits," he said. "What could be better than understanding how these things work and helping others to understand?" Mr. Milling and Ms. Sharp taught together for 11 years at The Bishop's School in La Jolla, California, where in addition to developing and implementing innovative curriculum, she served on the Global Education Committee and he coached a winning physics bowl team.
Their passion for science—and teaching young minds to think critically, support claims with evidence, and make connections that alter their worldviews—is undisputed. According to Ms. Sharp, "cultivating curiosity is the cornerstone of being a lifelong learner," and the science classroom provides an ideal environment for curiosity every day. She and Mr. Milling were drawn to Rowland Hall for the opportunity to grow our science program. Though they both agree that resources, namely time and funding, present a challenge to developing a first-rate science lab program, they are more than ready to advocate for an improved student experience.
"Experiments are the heart of science," Mr. Milling said. "They provide the evidence, and are how we test our ideas, and determine what is true and what is not true." While the Upper School science program recently acquired some new equipment for its laboratory sessions, he believes that changes to the curriculum—including offering Advanced Topics courses in chemistry and other subjects—will be key to ensuring that students are receiving the best science education possible.
For now, Ms. Sharp and Mr. Milling are busy adjusting to the shifting trimester schedule at Rowland Hall, taking advantage of outdoor-recreation opportunities, and building relationships with their new colleagues. "Collaborating effectively with my new community members is an integral part of my professional journey," Ms. Sharp said.
To that end, let's welcome them once again to Rowland Hall. We are thankful their professional journeys brought them here.