Introducing a New Addition to Our Science Department: Mr. Whitmyer!


As the 2020-2021 school year rolled around and we all jumped onto our devices to begin the school day, some of us might have seen a new face among ACP’s science department: Mr. Whitmyer! This year he is teaching three sciences classes to students of all grade levels at Erie: Investigative Science, Honors Biology, and Anatomy and Physiology. To learn a little more about him and his time before joining Erie, I asked him a few questions:

Q: I heard that you used to work with Mrs. Patterson and Mr. Rumsey at Anderson Junior High. How do you feel about teaching with them again?

A: I had the opportunity to work with Mr. Rumsey and Mrs. Patterson at Anderson Junior High. Mrs.Patterson had the room right next to me and was always a big help. I was a new teacher at the time and really had no idea what I was doing. For the first year, I knew who Mr. Rumsey was, but I am not sure I talked to him as we were on different sides of the school and taught different grade levels and subjects. During the second semester of that year, I was on a rigorous workout routine and would see him and the girls’ basketball team practicing in the gym, so I think all he knew me by was that gross sweaty eighth grade. We didn’t really have conversation, until I began teaching seventh grade that we often went to lunch on Thursdays to Los Favoritos, which carried over when we both transferred to ACP in 2013.

Mr. Whitmyer with his family and pets. Photo courtesy of Mr. Whitmyer.

Q: Are you an Arizona native? If not, where are you from?

A: I was born and raised in Billings, Montana and I was never going to leave. I loved it there and still do. I have a love for wide open spaces, hunting, fishing, hiking, and camping. I still do a lot of those activities here but it’s very different. I will say that life pulls you in directions so you really don’t know where you will end up. I started out working for the Montana Fish and Game then resigned my position and became a self employed barbwire fence contractor and finally went back to school to be a teacher after talking to some very influential high school teachers.

Q: Did you enjoy your time at Montana State University? What was your favorite college experience?

A: I graduated college with a major in biology and a minor in chemistry. College went by so fast for me. I worked two or three jobs at a time so I had no time for anything else. I went to college in my hometown so there was no dorm life or what most would consider the total college experience. My biggest piece of advice to students now is to go to class, take great notes, and study like you have never studied before. Most college professors really do not care about your excuses.

Q: What inspired you to go back to school and obtain a teaching certificate?

A1: Eight years after graduating, I returned to college and earned my teaching certificate. If I had the chance to do college over again in the circumstances that I knew where I was going to eventually end up, I would have done everything in one go because it is much more difficult to go to college while trying to support a family.

A2: So there was two people in my life who influenced my decision to go back to school. First was Kevin, a retired Montana Game Warden. We were having a discussion about a citation I should have written and I explained why I did not. I told him that in this situation I felt educating the person on the law was warranted so I left him off with a verbal warning. Kevin told me if you want to be a game warden, then write a warrant, and if you want to educate someone, then be a teacher. I kicked the idea around for a few months then eventually bumped into my high school physics teacher at a gas station as I was getting ready to go out of town for work. He asked if I had ever considered being a teacher. Okay, now that was two different people telling me that I should consider being a teacher, not to mention my wife had been telling me this for a couple years. That is when my life ambitions changed directions. Four years later, I interviewed from the middle of a cow pasture in Montana and 12 days later moved to Arizona to teach.

Q: How do you juggle teaching three different science related subjects with different grades?

Mr. Whitmyer in his classroom. Photo courtesy of Mr. Whitmyer.

A: Have you ever tried to juggle? Have you ever dropped everything while learning or even trying? This is my world. I am currently teaching three different science classes here at ACP. It’s my first year teaching both Anatomy and Physiology and Honors Biology. I taught Investigative Science for the past two years at Hamilton. It seems that every year presents its challenges and this one is no exception. This year I have had major adjustments to my way of teaching as I usually like to have conversations with students through class discussions and interactions. With this new platform, there is little of that. I like to do labs and hands-on things, which there is none of with online or distance learning. We will all get through this and things will get back to a new normal. We just have to press on through these periods of time.

Q: What was your favorite memory about high school? Do you have any advice for our Knights?

A: I can’t say I have a favorite memory from high school. What I can say is that the close friends you make in high school will most likely be your close friends as you move through your adult life. There are the ones who will pick you up through the lows in life and will be the ones that celebrate the highs with you.

Thank you to Mr. Whitmyer for taking the time out of your day to introduce yourself to our student body! The Knights wish you an extraordinary year!