James Goehmann brought more than four decades of teaching experience, including nearly three decades as math department chair, when he joined the Upper School faculty at Morgan Park Academy this fall.
Mr. Goehmann teaches AP Calculus AB, honors pre-calculus, and honors geometry; leads an advisory group; sits on the Upper School’s Honor Council; and is a faculty moderator for our Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics (ICTM) competition team.
He studied at the University of Chicago, where he earned a B.A. in mathematics and a Master of Arts in Teaching degree.
What do you enjoy most about teaching?
I enjoy it when students succeed in mathematics beyond the level they thought they could achieve. I enjoy the sense of accomplishment that students get when they overcome difficult math topics, especially if they were anxious about their ability to handle those topics.
The college admissions process is constantly evolving. It is much different than it was 10 years ago, even a few years ago. Because of this, it is more important than ever to understand college admission trends, what influences them, and how best to prepare to apply to college.
This year at MPA, we have improved our college counseling curriculum to keep pace with the ongoing demands of the college admission process and keep our students competitive in the applicant pool.
We already have begun to implement some exciting new changes. In eighth grade, we are beginning early college awareness through the use of NextTier College Counseling software. Students will receive assignments that parents and the college counselor can monitor as they progress.
College 102 is now a year-long college counseling class for juniors, while we have added College 103 as a fall semester class to help seniors complete the college application process. We plan to add College 100 and College 101 classes for freshmen and sophomores next year.
Tara Gorry teaches Spanish in the Upper School and Middle School, having joined Morgan Park Academy this fall from Montrose School, an independent school in suburban Boston.
She holds a B.A. in Spanish and English from Colgate University and an M.A. in Hispanic Studies from Boston College.
Why did you choose to work at Morgan Park Academy?
In addition to being an excellent school with strong academics, MPA attracted me with its culture of inclusion, sense of community, and focus on thinking internationally. While it is important to celebrate where we come from and what ties us together, as a language teacher, it is so important to me that a school looks outside of itself to explore other countries, meet other people, and learn to respect different ways of life.
Shavonne Terry is Morgan Park Academy’s educational technology coordinator, a role that encompasses classroom instruction across all school divisions as well as supporting the school’s information technology needs.
Ms. Terry holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Illinois Institute of Art, where she focused on media arts and animation, and a Master of Education degree from DePaul University.
Matthew McDowell teaches AP Government and Politics, AP U.S. History, and world history in the Upper School, coaches Middle School cross country, and serves as faculty moderator for Morgan Park Academy’s Model UN and Diversity Council.
Mr. McDowell holds a B.A. from Saint Xavier University and an M.S.Ed. degree from DePaul University.
What is the most important life lesson you want students to learn in your class?
That failure is part of life and a learning experience, not a crutch or low point on which to cling. Failure teaches us how to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, learn, and move forward. You may not ever be the smartest, the fastest, the most talented or most popular. But if you are kind and you try to always do your best, you will go far in life.
We are pleased to welcome Lynsey Bochenek-Robertson ’06 back to Morgan Park Academy this fall to teach Upper School science. This year, she is teaching chemistry and genetics, plus coaching tennis and soccer.
Ms. Bochenek attended Murray State University on a full tennis scholarship, earning an undergraduate degree in pre-med biology and chemistry and a graduate degree in biochemistry while conducting research in renal physiology. After teaching human anatomy and human physiology as a grad student, she entered the profession by teaching chemistry at Butler College Prep.
What do you enjoy most about teaching?
I teach because I believe it is my calling. I am always aiming to help each student unravel his or her uniqueness. I also want to install a love of learning in students, so they will always have a desire to grow and develop into the best version of themselves.
Derek Smith teaches English and Social Studies classes in the Upper School and is our Director of Service Learning. He is teaching American literature and consumer economics this school year, his sixth at Morgan Park Academy.
Mr. Smith holds a B.A. from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Master’s degree from Framingham State University.
What do you like best about teaching at Morgan Park Academy?
I enjoy how much autonomy and flexibility we are afforded as educators. I’ve created courses from scratch about Middle Eastern literature and about graphic novels, for example, and we’re reintroducing a speech class next spring. The encouragement to create new classes and to make use of our strengths enables and pushes us to continually grow as educators.
I also love our small community and the connection I have with students, including the opportunity to make connections outside of the classroom. As teachers here, we do not lose touch with our students once they graduate and move on to college and adult life.