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Sam Wheeler
The Franklin Academy
Wake Forest, NC. 

Hello!  My name is Sam Wheeler, and I have been teaching for 12 years now in North Carolina.  I primarily teach Physics and AP Physics, but often times pick up another course or two to fill out my schedule.  I was at Southeast Raleigh High School, where I was also teaching Physics and AP Physics, and I was also serving the department as department chair, but decided to take a leave of absence this year to work with my wife at The Franklin Academy, a charter school in Wake Forest, NC.    

The past several years have been very exciting to say the least.  Recently I was awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching, and I am making a point to take advantage of all the opportunities that follow as a result of that great honor.  In 2002, I was awarded a three year NSF funded research fellowship, through the Kenan Institute, to develop a curriculum and a permanent exhibit at the NC Natural Science Museum on the impact of Carbon Dioxide emissions on Global Climate Change.  That led to several opportunities with the museum.  In summer of 2002, I went to Belize to study the biodiversity and the role of the coral reef and the rain forest in the carbon cycle.  In 2003, I was able to take part in a three week cultural experience through the Fulbright program to Japan, which I highly recommend to anyone.  However in 2004 I was excited to be a finalist in the Educator Astronaut program, which is an honor to say the least even though I didn’t make it through the final pick!  I have been very fortunate to have taken part in several other science expeditions over the past few years including trips to Ecuador, Alberta, and recently Yellowstone National Park.  In each of these opportunities my personal goal has been to develop curricula that teach physics concepts through biological and environmental examples.  Also, one of the most interesting things that I have been able to do was to co-host and help produce a local live, call-in, Math & Science television show through the local public access station.  On the show my co-host and I answered questions from students, did science demos, and I even brought my own students on to help out.  Ultimately, it is as much fun to bring back the stories and lessons to share with my students as it has been to take part in these experiences.  I get excited by getting them excited. 

Personally, I’ve been married nearly four years now to a wonderful woman.  We don’t have any kids yet, but we have two spoiled cats.  (One is my step-cat, the other we both adopted.)  We both love to travel and took a group of students to Europe last summer for ten days and are organizing a trip to Italy and Greece this summer! 


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Editor: Linda Conrad
NASA Official: Liza Coe
Last Updated:February 2006
Students Contact: Loretta Hidalgo
Teachers Contact: Liza Coe