• Mr. Brown's Bio

     

     

    Personal Life

    Glacier with family

    I grew up in Des Moines and moved to Iowa City in 1995. My wife Maurine Neiman is a biology professor here at the University, and I have a junior at City High. As a family, we love to play with our two dogs. I enjoy gardening, playing guitar, creating hands-on learning activities, going (or missing going) to live theatre and music, and building everything from houses to contraptions. I founded Echollective, a vegetable farm in Cedar County, and I built a solar-heated straw-bale house there. I love hiking and canoeing in the wilderness. I spent 2 weeks in the Boundary Waters this summer that included an 8-day solo wilderness trip. 

     

    Professional Life

    I've enjoyed teaching at SouthEast and ICCSD Online since 2016. I've spent my career focused on K-12 science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). After earning a physics degree at M.I.T., I taught physics and chemistry for three years at Du Sable High School in Chicago. Here in Johnson County, I taught for another thirteen years: middle school math/science in Lone Tree and high school science/engineering/math in Solon. For four years prior to joining SouthEast staff, I worked from home for Project Lead The Way, designing and writing two computer science courses and training teachers to teach them. There are about 2,000 schools in the United States offering my courses now, and I'm excited to be back in the classroom getting first-hand opportunities to teach. You can learn more about my professional life on my LinkedIn profile. I am grateful for the outstanding opportunity to work with such a great staff here at SouthEast. 

     

    Philosophy of Teaching

    Based on published evidence, I am passionate about three principles of teaching:

    • Understanding by Design and Visible Learning: Objectives should be kept front and center for students and teachers. Lessons should be designed to produce evidence that students have mastered the identified objectives. Students and teachers should provide a steady two-way stream of feedback about whether the objectives are being mastered.
    • STEM-C Integration: Science, technology, engineering and math, blended with computer science (STEM-C) are best taught by combining the subjects so that students understand why each subject is relevant.
    • Problem-based learning: Student learn concepts better and are more motivated and connected when student teams create solutions to problems they help identify, particularly for students with barriers to education.

     

    Welcome

    I would be glad to hear from you. Please don't hesitate to reach out to me at brown.bennett@iowacityschools.org.