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Twenty years have nearly come and gone in my teaching career, and I’ve found my niche teaching at the fifth grade level. My students’ innate curiosity and kindness combined with their ability to get my jokes help me prepare them for the sciences in middle school high school and beyond. This is my tenth year teaching at Valley View School in Pleasanton, CA. We were recognized this year as a California Distinguished School. My goal is to use the Spaceward Bound experience to improve science education in my classroom, across my grade level and throughout the school and district. After this, I’d like to share successful practices at the state and national level.
Prior to teaching, I worked in the Environmental Sciences Division at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory managing a field site where a greenhouse effect experiment was conducted. I also learned scanning electron microscopy there.
I then smoothly segued into a career as a sports car racer, racecar test driver and race-driving instructor at the then Sears Point International Raceway in Sonoma, CA. I loved the challenge of competition, and did community outreach work for the track that took me to local schools, where I developed a passion for teaching while my racing career waned due to a severe lack of capital.
The outdoors are a vital part of my life, and I enjoy climbing the many 14,000’+ peaks in the Sierra Nevada mountains, mountain biking, and road biking. I’m currently challenged by the task of learning to fly a Cessna 172 thanks to a kind friend who is letting me beat up his airplane as I make my first ugly landings. I hope to use the plane to access more wilderness sites, both for sport and science exploration.
I’m the proud son of my late mother, Betty Louise Palassou, and my dad, Robert K. Palassou. I enjoy spending time with my dad. It’s a wonderful blessing, and honor, to be pals with your dad.
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