Alumni profile: Craig Seibert, M.Ed. in Science Education

Craig SeibertThis month, we had the chance to catch up with C&I Alum, Craig Seibert, a science educational consultant and recently-elected Board President for the Friends of Rookery Bay in Naples, Florida. Craig earned his M.Ed. in Science Education at the University of Minnesota in 1984, and taught high school science for 21 years. In 1996, he was selected as the Outstanding High School Teacher of the Year for Collier County. From 1999 to 2006, he served as the science coordinator for Collier County Public Schools in Naples, FL.
In his new role as the Board President of the Friends of Rookery Bay, Craig will work to build support for the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, one of 28 research reserves across the United States. Below, Craig answers a few questions for us.
Tell us a little bit about you. What do you do in your free time?
I was a high school science teacher for 21 years (1 year in Sherburn, MN, 6 years in Spring Lake Park, MN and 14 years in Naples, FL), and after that I became the Science Coordinator for Collier County Public Schools in Naples. I’m currently a science educational consultant. Education has always been my passion and I enjoy teaching students and teachers alike.
In my free time, I enjoy traveling with my wife of 32 years, golfing, and spending summers at our lake home on Ten Mile Lake near Hackensack, MN and wintering in Naples.
What gets you excited about your work? What really motivates you?
I am currently involved with developing inquiry-based science programs for Pre-K through 5th grade. Our children are our future and we need to help prepare them to be critical thinkers. We need to challenge our youth to compete with the rest of the world and provide them the tools to keep the United States competitive whether that be in education, research, industry or any other field in the market place.
I think my passion for teaching came from some of the great teachers I had as I was going through our educational system. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a student understand a concept or seeing that light come on and knowing you had a small part in their understanding. It was fun to see students grow right in front of you over the years. A teacher has an awesome responsibility to help mold a student’s learning. We as a nation need to see that value and reward those teachers for the hard work they put in every day.
How does your degree come in handy? How has it prepared you for your career both in and outside the classroom?
I believe my master’s degree opened doors for me after I left the classroom to become a science coordinator for our school system. My degree also helped open doors in the consulting world once I retired from the public school system. There is no doubt that the University of Minnesota M.Ed. has been extremely helpful throughout my career.
What you will be doing in your new position?
As the incoming President of the Friends of Rookery Bay (FORB), I will be charged with helping the National Research Reserve move forward to protect our precious estuaries found in Southwest Florida. The FORB group’s mission is to connect people with Southwest Florida’s dynamic estuarine environment through education, engagement, and stewardship by supporting the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.
Do you have a motto or a set of words to live by?
“There are no short cuts to success,” and “treat others as you would like to be treated.”