- Upper School
Dan Frost joined the Thornton Academy faculty in 2013, starting as a math teacher, then later transferring to the Science Department. Before starting at Thornton, Mr. Frost taught math, science, and music at Carrabassett Valley Academy for seven years. During his tenure in the western mountains of Maine, he spent summers putting his geometry skills to work as a carpenter, coaching Alpine Ski Racing and tutoring in New Zealand or Austria, and completing glacier and paleoclimate research in the High Norwegian Arctic (Svalbard '12, Ingoya '14). As a 2012 PolarTREC teacher he kept a daily online journal of his summer field season as a means to connect contemporary Arctic research to the high school classroom. He believes that the integration of mathematics into its applications in the STEM fields serves as a great way to see incredible connections from classroom material to the real world.
Having spent a number of field seasons in the Canadian Arctic as a student and researcher at Bates College (’05), Mr. Frost has an affinity for the high north. On any given day you may be able to find him on his way to Alaska by plane or vehicle for climate research, working with teachers on bringing the Arctic to the classroom, or fishing for Sockeyes out of the Copper River.
As chair of the Science department, shares his passion for fieldwork and gets students actively involved in “doing” science both in the lab and outside.
What is the best thing about teaching at Thornton Academy?
Thornton Academy is filled with students that are motivated to actively engage with their education and faculty that are enthusiastic to constantly improve their craft.
What is your favorite teaching memory?
One of my favorite teaching memories is getting the opportunity to work with a former high school student of mine on her college senior thesis in Arctic Norway. It was a special experience to see her growth as a scientist and the adventures she was able to undertake because of it.
Could you describe your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy is based on the goal of trying to understand as much as possible about the world around us. That means finding out how science connects to all of our lives and diverse experiences. Finding relevance the in the content we cover for students from all walks of lives is a constant goal for me.
What do you hope your students get out of your classes?
I want students to understand the “why” behind their surroundings and be able to connect what we cover in class to the experiences they have outside of the classroom. When a student mentions to me that something in their life sparked a memory back to Science class, I love hearing about the connection.
What do you hope for the future of TA?
Our mission is to “prepare students for a changing world” and my hope is that we continue to innovate and adapt with the challenges of change but remain vigilant in establishing connections with students and sharing our passion for learning.
Favorite food, book, movie, song?
Food = Anything that comes straight from Saco Bay (Lobster, Clams, Striped Bass...well, anything except Mackerel)
Book = The River Why
Movie = The Original Muppet Movie
Song = Steam Powered Airplane by John Hartford