Information for Faculty
of the Year 2008-2009
For Warren Neff, a math instructor
at the Bartlesville Mid-High School, teaching isn’t the fulfillment of a
Armed with his bachelor’s and
master’s degrees in physics, he spent the first half of his professional
career in the corporate world, serving as a research geophysicist. But
when he lost his job, Neff decided to explore some different career
possibilities. Though not a passion at that point, he did have some
experience with teaching. He served as a teaching assistant while doing
his undergraduate and graduate work at Emporia State University in
Kansas. He had worked with the new hire training program while serving
as a research geophysicist as well.
So, freshly armed with his teaching
certificate in 2003, Neff applied to become a math instructor at the
Mid-High. Though the administrators had some initial concerns about his
lack of classroom experience, they brought him aboard. Those concerns
quickly dissipated. Neff established an almost immediate rapport with
his students and was able to use his corporate experience to show them
how the math skills they were developing could pay off in the real
“The greatest contribution that I
bring to the education table is my perspective,” says Neff. “With over
20 years of industry experiences, I can bring to the classroom real life
examples of why my students need to know certain math skills and where
they are used.”
In his six years as an educator,
Neff has made a very positive impact at the Mid-High, where he was
recently named the school’s 2009 teacher of the year. With the honor, he
will vie with 12 other candidates from throughout the Bartlesville
Public School District for the Teacher of the Year crown. The eventual
winner will be revealed on Monday, Feb. 23 during the 2009 Teacher of
the Year Ceremony in the Fine Arts Center auditorium on the Bartlesville
High School campus. A pre-ceremony reception is scheduled to commence at
5:30 p.m. with the main program set to begin at 6 p.m.
Neff is a strong believer in the
practice of enlightening students about the practical applications of
math. At the Mid-High, he often teams with science instructor Terri
Bryan and together they create lessons which meld the math and science
concepts which they are teaching.
“Many times,” says Neff, “I can
dovetail off of Mrs. Bryan’s science lessons to demonstrate the use of
math in solving everyday problems that most students would never connect
to math or science.
“Being successful in the classroom
is the greatest accomplishment any teacher could hope for.”
In his classroom, Neff works to
allow his students the utmost opportunity to learn and grow. He focuses
not just on the assigned lessons, but life skills as well. While he
wants them to learn particular math skills, he focuses on the importance
of simply being able to take notes and organize them, also. Those are
skills that will help them in Neff’s class but will carry over to other
classes and eventually the real world as well.
Neff works to connect with his
students as well. He can often be seen at Mid-High sporting events,
concerts and contests as he roots on the students. In the classroom, he
conducts himself in a manner that can serve as a positive example for
“My actions, attitude and behavior
toward a student are a reflection of me,” says Neff. “What I expect of
my students, I model in myself.”
Outside of the classroom, Neff has
served as a judge in the Bartlesville district science fair for more
than 30 years. He has made many stops in elementary schools as “Mr.
Science Man,” explaining simple concepts to the youngsters and helping
to pique their interest. He is the president of the Bartlesville
District United Methodist Men and the past president of the Oklahoma
Conference of United Methodist Men.
While working as a geophysicist, he
had several articles published and made presentations in China, Norway
and Mexico as well as in several locations throughout the United States.
Neff is a member of the Bartlesville
Education Association and has attended several advanced placement
workshops as he works to hone his teaching skills. He has worked on some
special projects for the Bartlesville Public School District, including
the demonstration of how the NovaNet program can be successfully
utilized in the summer school setting and the benefits of co-teaching,
whereby regular education and special education instructors work
side-by-side in the classroom.
Neff didn’t originally set out to
become a teacher. But now that he is one, the benefits are being reaped
by his students and fellow educators at the Bartlesville Mid-High.
(Borrowed from Granger Meador's BHS Website)