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BIOS

Mary Lee McJimsey

Senior Fellow
North Central High School
Spokane, Washington

At age 16, Mary Lee McJimsey was awarded the Congress-Bundestag Scholarship and left her home in Spokane, Wash., to spend her junior year studying in a German high school. “While living with a family near Hamburg, I learned German and realized that even in a foreign language I understood science well.” Mary Lee was also dedicated to music, and when she returned home to Ferris High School, she kept a busy schedule playing the clarinet and teaching private students. “This is where my passion for teaching came alive.”

Mary Lee chose to major in physics at California Polytechnic State University, and also pursued music by joining the band, orchestra, and the clarinet ensemble. After two years, she realized that music brought more pleasure as a pastime. “I chose to focus on my passion for physics.” Her research experience included fieldwork in Australia and conducting physics experiments at the Cal Poly pier. “This is what led me to the teaching credential program; the more I learned, the more I knew I should be a physics teacher.”

Mary returned to Spokane in 2006 to teach at North Central High School. She coaches the science bowl team, works with the Diagnoser Project to improve formative assessment, and brings music into her classroom through her unit on the physics of music. She enjoys spending free time with her husband, riding bikes or watching movies. “Every once in a while I get time to practice my clarinet.”

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I taught private music lessons my senior year in high school. Teaching became the best part of each week, and by the end of the year I didn't know how I was going to live without it.

Mary Lee McJimsey
Senior Fellow