Based on a nomination by school administrators, Pomolita Middle School science teacher Adam Lane was recently named the 2018 Region 1 California League of Schools (CLMS) Educators of the Year, making him one of 22 teachers eligible to be come the California Education of the Year.
“I’m honored by this recognition. I feel lucky to have found a profession where I get to do what I love every day,” Lane said.
Lane inspires students and colleagues alike. In the classroom, Lane lets his passion for science run wild. Often wearing t-shirts that use clever plays on the periodic table, he has an intuitive sense of what attracts and engages middle school students, especially when it comes to hands-on activities.
Principal Bryan Barrett said, “You never know what he’ll teach on any given day. It could be rockets, roller coasters or robots.”
Lane works diligently to keep his teaching material current and interesting. He researches new topics and integrates prevailing scientific thoughts on issues like global warming, GMOs and total eclipses, for example. He also designs instructional activities that emphasize depth rather than breadth, helping students develop a deeper knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject matter.
The teaching methods Lane employs introduce students to new technologies, including an innovative online curriculum from Lawrence Livermore Labs. Students learn to use their Chromebooks to navigate Google Classroom, research scientific data, and watch digital clips that illustrate scientific principles. Not only does this prepare students for future educational opportunities, it allows students of varying academic levels and backgrounds to access and master the curriculum.
During his summer vacation, Lane and a fellow science teacher put together a new maker's classroom at Pomolita, giving students a better place to explore science through hands-on learning.
Lane enjoys collaborating with other teachers (especially the one he is married to in the English Language Arts Department, Melidy Lane) to help students gain a fuller understanding of certain material. In fact, he and his wife recently co-taught selections of text to help prepare students for the common core assessments.
After school, Lane serves as the Science Club and Science Olympiad advisor. Science Olympiad is an event where schools compete to prove their superior knowledge in a huge array of topics related to science, technology and engineering. Last year, Pomolita’s Science Club earned second place at the Sacramento Regional Science Olympiad for the second year in a row, earning the right to compete at the State competition. This is Lane’s fourth year as advisor.
Lane funds the Science Olympiad effort through donations from parents, GATE/PTO contributions, and grants from the Ukiah Educational Foundation and Staples. He and his students also volunteer to fundraise by selling water at “any and every function,” he explained.
In addition to teaching and advising students, Lane serves on Pomolita’s Leadership Network team, the Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports team and the Site-Based Decision-Making team. As department leader, he has taken several teachers to four National Science Teacher Association conferences; and last year, he attended a train-the-trainer conference in Portland, so he can better support the implementation of New Generation Science Standards. Recently, as part of district professional development, he ran a model lab day for teachers.
“You’d think his teaching, Science Club and leadership activities would be enough, but on top of all this, Adam often attends school sports practices and games. He’s that teacher who always dresses up for spirit days, judges rallies, and leads staff events like our infamous staff dance production, ‘What Did the Fox Say?’” Barrett said.
Lane said he always wanted to teach science, but did not pursue it until the 2008 recession, when he and his wife went to China to teach abroad. That experience galvanized his desire to teach. Upon their return to the United States, Adam Lane enrolled in the Rural Teaching Residency program at Chico State, where he earned a multiple-subject credential and a single supplemental through a summer bridge program.
“It wasn’t long after Adam completed his credential that we were fortunate enough to hire both Adam for science and Melidy for Language Arts. They are both fabulous teachers,” Barrett said.
If you ask his students, they will tell you “Mr. Lane is the best teacher ever” and that he is “totally cool.”
“Adam is generous with his time and his heart, always saying nice things to and about others. He is a great model for students, for all of us,” Barrett explained.
Like Bill Nye the Science Guy, a favorite of Lane’s (he has met him and has signed copies of all his books), Lane is Pomolita’s very own science guy and a deserving recipient of the 2018 CLMS Educator of the Year award.