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I have a deep passion for instilling awe at the manifold wonders of our world. Most children I have met are hungry for that, and I am pleased to show it to them.”

Thomas Jones

Office Manager

Tell me a little about your personal and educational background.
I grew up and went to public school in Orange County. In college I decided to pursue an AS in Biological Sciences. At university I have been pursuing a wider array of interests, including history, psychology, and applied math. I focus on ecology and philosophy. I have participated in two research projects, in ethology and systems biology. I take a holistic view of science; I love finding ways to bridge gaps between fields. My bachelor’s degree is in progress. 

When and why did you decide to become a teacher?
I read articles and watched videos of Miss VanDamme’s educational philosophy and I found it inspiring. I realized that I had to take part in any way I could. I relish the learning process, and I seek understanding of the world in a wide variety of fields with no thought for the limit of my horizon. As the world evolves and technology improves, I want to inspire young people to feel the same way. I can do that at VDA, and that is why I am here.

What makes you an asset to VanDamme Academy?
I have a background in organization and administration that lends well to the office manager position, and experience as a teacher of children. I get along with young people very well, since I can connect about shared interests like video games and fiction. Beyond that, I have a deep passion for instilling awe at the manifold wonders of our world. Most children I have met are hungry for that, and I am pleased to show it to them. 

What brought you to VanDamme Academy?
I had known about VanDamme Academy for a while, and some of my own ideas about education were in part informed or inspired by the writings of Lisa VanDamme. At one point, I discovered that VDA had an open position for a Junior High instructor. I wrote and explained my interest to Lisa and discovered that she had a need at that time for a new science program. It was the same time I was beginning to form my own dreams of writing my own science program, and so it was a lucky match.

What do you do in your free time?
In my free time I like reading fiction, playing board games and video games, and writing occasionally. I sometimes design and conduct amateur field studies of local fauna. I go hiking and camping when I can, and I make a yearly trip to a museum or arboretum.

Do you have any favorite stories about your teaching experience?
I remember giving a quiz a couple of years ago on muscles and bones, and watching a classroom of students all waving their arms around in devout concentration trying to remember which muscle does what. I'm also very proud of the fact that a certain curious and intelligent student once chose me as the subject of her "Person I Most Admire" essay in writing class.