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Bob Mize: Science teacher receives AF Honor

Bob Mize

Steilacoom High School science teacher Bob Mize was recently honored by the Washington State Air Force Association as its Teacher of the Year. Mize, a retired AF veteran and AFA m ember has been teaching at Steilacoom High School for the past 15 years.

“I am deeply honored to receive this award, and I am thrilled that the school district has given me the opportunity to continue to introduce technology to our students. This recognition would not have been possible without the assistance of district administrators such as SHS Principal Jan McCrimmon,” said Mize.

Mr. Mize was the first teacher in our district to earn National Board Certification from the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards in the field of Adolescent and Young Adulthood Science. He was one of only 57 science teachers in Washington State to hold these credentials at the time of his certification.

In September 2000, he was one of eight science teachers nationwide to be selected by the National Science Foundation to participate in the REVEL program, a program where high school science teachers participate in deep sea exploration aboard ocean-going research vessels. Mr. Mize was selected to board the RV Atlantis and the DSRV Alvin, operated by the Wood’s Hole Oceanographic Institution to study lifeforms on the geothermal vents 200 miles off the coast of British Columbia, at a depth of 7,000 ft. While at sea, Mr. Mize’s students were able to follow his exploits from the classroom, on-line.

As a teacher, Mr. Mize brings “state of the art” biotechnology to his students: from introducing computer-based laboratory technology that incorporates computers and probe ware into the high school curriculum, to cryogenics and super conductors. He also has introduced “cutting edge” technologies, showing biology students the intricacies of DNA, fingerprinting, gene splicing and protein separation.

Other examples include having his students use gene cyclers and polymerase chain reactions to analyze their own DNA. They also use vertical polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis chambers to analyze evolutionary relationships among varied species of fish. Using spectrophotometers, they measure the rate of plant photosynthesis. Students in his Anatomy and Physiology classes use high speed centrifuges to do hematocrit studies and electrodardiographs to measure their own heart rhythms—topics not normally found in the high school setting.

As an Educator, Mr. Mize constantly is working to stay current with the ever-changing world of technology. During the summer he attends workshops to improve his skills: from workshops at Pacific Lutheran University to classes at the University of Washington’s Human Genome Center.

He hopes that by incorporating these technologies into the classroom, he can show students the “real world” relationships between classroom studies and the world of work, making them more competitive in the global job market.

Mr. Mize is advisor for the 80+-member Steilacoom High School Kiwanis Key Club. He also has been honored as the Lakewood Rotary’s Teacher of the Month.

Note: The purpose of the Air Force Association Teacher of the Year program, explained McChord chapter president Tom Hansen, “is to recognize teachers at the chapter and State (WA) levels for their accomplishments and achievements in exciting K-12 students about science and math (STEM) and preparing them to use and contribute top tomorrow’s technologies.”

Bob was nominated by SHS Principal Jan McCrimmon for the Chapter award competition this past September. This past October he was named the Chapter winner.

This honor included a monetary award, a Certificate of Excellence and an AFA Tote bag.

The McChord Chapter submitted Bob’s information to the AFA WA State organization to compete against other state chapter nominations.

Bob was selected as the WA State Winner this month, and his honor included another monetary award, a Certificate of Excellence, a personalized jacket, and a complimentary Civil Air Patrol Aerospace Education Membership.

The state award makes him eligible to compete for the AFA National Teacher of the Year Award next Spring.

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