Teacher Spotlight: Jonathan Trebble-Greening

AwardPicThe National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) recognized Jonathan Trebble-Greening from Uplift Luna High School for his tenacity as a science teacher in his first five years.

Trebble-Greening was awarded the Maitland P. Simmons Memorial Award for new teachers.  The award provides teachers in their first five years of teaching with funds to attend NSTA’s National Conference on Science Education and provides additional resources to science teachers. He not only represented Uplift but the state of Texas.

The conference was especially meaningful for Trebble-Greening,  who began at Uplift Luna three years ago through Teach for America, because one of the keynote speakers was a scientist whose research he studied as a college senior.

As a genetics, biology and psychology major at the University of Georgia, Trebble-Greening had not thought of becoming a teacher until his last semester.

“Being a part of a beautiful university that’s so well-funded yet surrounded by poverty and kids going to high schools that never thought or dreamed about going to the university next door was really a turning point for me, ” said Trebble-Greening.

Mr. TG (as the scholars call him) began teaching 8th grade science. Three years later as a high school teacher,  he is teaching many of those scholars again.

Melina Lopez, 10th grade, is one of those scholars. Lopez recalls Mr. TG’s efforts to connect with students to keep them engaged and interested in the material. Mr. TG would share stories with them about college coursework as a science major. Those stories helped pique scholars’ interests and become aware of what they need to do to prepare for the next step in their education.

“I already loved math and science but after his class, I really want a career that has to do with math and science,” said Lopez.

Candice Dagnino, director of Uplift Luna High School is proud of her teachers’ work and encourages her staff to take advantage of these professional development opportunities.

“We have to make it a priority to continue to build capacity in our teachers to ensure that are teachers are continuously learning and growing,” said Dagnino.

Scholars like Lopez said they notice the professional growth of their teachers. The 10th grader has Mr. TG for chemistry this year. Lopez admits his class has not got easier, and it is a challenge she welcomes.

Dagnino believes Trebble-Greening has found his sweet spot in high school science teaching chemistry, AP environmental science, technical writing and providing scholars with intervention support.

“He has come in and done incredible work especially with using data to guide his instruction,” said Dagnino, “We’ve seen growth in his performance and he continues to grow and get better.”

Trebble-Greening hopes to continue to grow and instill a love for the sciences as well as encourage his scholars to pursue a career in that field.

“I just left with so many ideas from the conference,” said Trebble-Greening, “If this is good, then what is great and what does it mean to be the best teacher you can be?”

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