“My name is Jerry Hill. I am just short of 70 years old, so have been around for a while. I am Senior Science Advisor for a small company, which provides integrated Web-based applications to government and commercial customers, and am currently writing proposals to expand our company's business in areas of our core capability. Below, I First provide my background and qualifications, followed by the reason for this email.
Since my formal retirement from Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) in 1999 - and in between consulting assignments at Boeing, ITT, Lockheed-Martin, Raytheon and Quintron Systems (a local Santa Maria based communications company) - I have taught from time to time at Paso Robles High School, primarily filling in for Mr. Steve Kliewer and some other outstanding teachers of Math, Science, Computer Science and English (Yes English, without which knowledge in these subjects cannot be adequately communicated and applied).
For the last 10 years prior to my "official" retirement in 1999, I managed two major NASA/JPL contracts, while a Program Manager for Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC). During this time I was directly involved with integrated development teams supporting exploration vehicles gathering data from Jupiter (Galileo) and Saturn (Cassini), in addition to providing downlink telemetry and uplink commanding for those programs and Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites such as Topex Poseidon and Jason (the purpose of which was to gather oceanic topography data to predict weather patterns such as el Nino).
Prior to that, I was Ground Support System (GSS) Manager for the ultimately cancelled Space Shuttle program for polar launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base, and either Architect or Project Manager for a host of ground telemetry systems installed at Vandenberg Air Force Base (AFB), Edwards AFB, Pax River Naval Air Station (NAS), MD. and Pt. Mugu NAS, in addition to mobile Army weapons procurement systems for Ft. Hunter Liggett, CA, Ft. Hood, TX and other Army bases providing procurement data for weapons systems such as Longbow-Apache, the first acquisition supported by these Army systems.
I believe, and would hope you agree, this background in real-world Science applications qualifies me to judge the adequacy of classroom instruction in the public or private school system.
Though I am not a teacher by profession, I was a computer systems instructor in the Air Force, and have had hands on experience in the public school system, teaching Summer School Science and Computer Science classes and in substituting for Mr. Kliewer, sometimes for up to three weeks at a time when he was observing Science-related events such as a total Eclipse of the Sun in the Mediterranean some years ago. During his absence, I led Mr. Kliewer's classes in observing and learning from a delayed playback of this event.
Though I am not a great teacher, I am more than competent to know one when I see one, and Mr. Kliewer is the best I have ever seen at what he does. His having been awarded "Teacher of the Year" for 2008, demonstrates that some others in the Paso Robles school system clearly agree with Mr. Kliewer's being the "best" at what he does.
Mr. Kliewer was, and is, not only preparing, but just as importantly, motivating these students for the world I have worked in since 1963, and to which they will, and do, contribute subsequent to graduation, since almost all go on to college.
Without this quality instruction from someone who both knows Science and understands its application, far fewer of these students will be prepared to meet the challenges of a rapidly advancing technology, which doubles our knowledge and capability in a very short time span; in some areas, such as computer technology, demonstrably as short as every 18 months. Few educators understand both the scientific concepts and their application as does Mr. Kliewer.