Title: RMAG Teacher of the Year Honored by National AAPG
Author: Norbert E. Cygan (Chairman, AAPG Youth Education Activities Committee)
Publication: The Outcrop, April 2001, p. 11
John McKinney has been named the AAPG 2001 Teacher of the Year. John has been teaching at Castle Rock Middle School for the past nine years. He presently teaches five sections of earth science each semester. The RMAG selected John as the 2000 Teacher of the Year, and forwarded his entry for the Rocky Mountain AAPG Section competition where he again placed first. AAPG Section President Ed Dolly submitted John’s credentials for the national AAPG award.
John received his degree in physical geography and geology with a concentration in map-making from the University of Oregon in 1978. He worked for the Census Bureau for one year doing population statistics and mapping. He and a partner decided to enter the commercial painting business, which involved a move to Greeley, Colorado. After ten years of commercial painting experience he wanted to settle down and use his education in a field in which he was interested. He enrolled at the University of Northern Colorado, and in 1992 received both his master’s degree in earth science and a teaching certificate. He took a position in the Douglas County School System at Castle Rock Middle School and now resides in Sedalia, Colorado, with his wife, Mindy, and sons Ben, 9, and Jay, 6.
John became interested in geology while growing up in the Santa Monica Mountains in California. On his hike-and-bike trips he became interested in the fossils that he found. When he entered the University of Oregon he took courses in geology to help explain the fossils he had found near his home. His first course in geology hooked him. He still collects fossils and makes replicas of vertebrate specimens that he uses in his earth science classes, as well as for trading and sale. An avid outdoorsman, he has climbed mountains in North and South America.
The AAPG award includes $2500 for his personal use and $2500 for classroom use and equipment for classroom demonstrations. The award also provides for a trip for John and his wife to the 2001 AAPG convention in Denver. John will be presented with the award at the Denver convention and will participate in various education and teachers’ programs.