Casey O’Hara grew up in Portland, Oregon, with an aptitude for science and a love of music. He completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering at Stanford University, where he joined the incomparable Stanford Marching Band. He went on to perform with several successful San Francisco bands, opening for Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and selling several hundred albums. Today, one of Casey’s favorite classroom projects combines his love of physics and music: students design and build musical instruments, then perform as a band.
Casey entered the teacher credential program at San Francisco State in 2003 and has taught physics and integrated science at Carlmont High School since 2004. He has worked with his school and district to develop and disseminate inquiry-based and standards-based curriculum. He has worked to improve the level of inquiry experiences across his entire department, and has developed a program in Engineering and Green Technology.
Casey is among the first KSTF Teaching Fellows to earn certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the highest standard of teaching excellence held by educators. During the 2009–2010 winter (austral summer) he traveled to the South Pole to take part in the construction of IceCube, the world’s largest telescope built to detect neutrino particles and the biggest research project ever attempted in Antarctica.
I have been encouraged by the fact that a number of kids who enter my class not enjoying or even fearing science have gone on to become excited and eager science students.