Four Rivers School Hires Full Complement of AUNE Science Teachers

Andy Patari, MS ’12, joined the Peace Corps in 2008, after earning a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from University of Pittsburgh, with a certificate in Latin American Studies. He taught school in Guatemala, an experience he calls heart-breaking and profound.

“I enjoyed the job and saw very plainly the necessity for a good education, as I lived in a world where such a thing was nearly impossible to obtain.”

He decided to pursue graduate studies at Antioch University New England to become a science teacher.

“There’s a lot that goes into making a good teacher, not the least of which is plenty of time spent teaching.  The first thing that struck me about the Science Teacher Certification concentration once classes started was how fast Jimmy Karlan got us into middle and high school classrooms to observe seasoned educators and try out our own lesson designs.  Nothing could have boosted my confidence or reaffirmed my decision to choose this program faster,” says Andy. “What my courses at Antioch did was to help fill out my knowledge base and orient my approach to teaching so that I may continue to develop as a professional throughout my career.”

Patari now works as a science teacher at Four Rivers Charter School in Greenfield, Massachusetts. In fact, all four of the school’s science teachers graduated from AUNE’s Department of Environmental Studies in the Science Teacher Certification concentration.

Patari joins Laura Stamas, who teaches ninth-grade environmental science and tenth-grade biology; Niki Gilbert, who teaches eight-grade math and science and Amanda Locke, who teaches seventh grade science and math. Those three graduated with master’s degrees in 2005.

Four Rivers, a middle/high school serving Franklin County, has some of the state’s best test scores on MCAS, the standardized test. It was founded 2003.

“Antioch science teachers appear to be custom-trained for a school like ours,” said Peter Garbus, Four Rivers’ principal. “Because students learn through experience, the teacher’s job is to design and facilitate that experience, putting students in situations where they have to investigate, call on their knowledge, and think. Our Antioch teachers understand this. They also like to get dirty. If science has to be experienced, we want to get our students out into the field. Our science teachers take students to rivers, vernal pools, nuclear plants, wastewater treatment facilities, high-ropes challenge courses, local farms, and much more. If you want to see great science learning, come and see our teachers at Four River, educated, trained, and inspired by Antioch University New England.”