David Thompson is an Assistant Clinical Professor at NAUTeach.
In 2009, Dave made the hard choice to leave the classroom to help found the NAUTeach Program. He knew he was making a lasting impact on his students in the classroom, but realized he could influence even more students by inspiring the next generation of teachers that would step into the classroom. As a Master Teacher for the NAUTeach program, he mentors dozens of pre-service science teachers in inquiry-based pedagogical methods. He is the teacher that every new teacher strives to be someday. Dave’s incredible rapport with his students, fun-loving and sometimes unpredictable classes, and incredible pedagogy inspire his future teachers to be the best they can be as soon as they step in the classroom.
NAUTeach graduates are far more prepared to enter the science classroom than graduates from other programs. NAUTeach emphasizes the most current research on science teaching, including inquiry- and project-based instruction methods. Students get into the classroom right away and gain valuable experience teaching in the classrooms of highly effective science teachers. Dave inspires dozens of his students every year to become “STEM Super Heroes.”
Many of his NAUTeach students volunteer at FIRST events put on by the CocoNuts. At least 4-5 of them have gone on to their first teaching positions and to start FIRST teams of their own, continuing the legacy that he created. In addition to his duties at NAU, Dave is the Technical Coach for the “world famous” CocoNuts FIRST Robotics Team. Every year Dave helps the CocoNuts find innovative solutions to the challenge. During the 2013-2014 season the CocoNuts robot was so successful that it was undefeated in a field of 49 robots at the Arizona Regional FRC Tournament. This punched the team’s ticket to go to the World Championship. At Worlds the robot’s performance put in the top 2% of the over 2700 teams in the FRC program worldwide.
From the nomination letter:
Dave is such an inspiration to all STEM Students and Teachers in Flagstaff. Here is a brief list of his accomplishments. Please enjoy the attached letter of recommendation for more details on all that Dave does to enhance STEM education in Flagstaff.
*20+ years teaching science at Coconino High School.
*National Science Teacher of the Year in 1999
*NAUTeach Master Teacher
*Coach of the CHS “CocoNuts” FIRST Robotics Team
*Arizona FIRST Tech Challenge Affiliate Partner
*Dozens of presentations to professional organizations to help improve science teaching throughout our region.
Dave is responsible for the creation of many of the most successful STEM programs in Flagstaff.