JOSEPH D. ACKER III
Professional Learning Leader /
Joe went to the University of Florida where he received a Bachelor in Science of Engineering with a specialization in Environmental Engineering. He began working as a project and field engineer for an international company designing systems to clean up hazardous and petroleum contaminated sites throughout the country. During off times, he found himself drawn to his wife’s elementary school classroom and the students who inspired him to bring the wonders of math, science, and technology into the classroom. In 1996, he transitioned from engineering into teaching high school AP Physics, Earth Science, and Pre-Engineering at the same pre-engineering magnet school that he attended as a student. Additionally, he was fortunate to mentor both a nationally acclaimed pre-engineering design team and FIRST robotics team.
Since 2000, Joe has been involved in numerous innovative education projects. He supported the creation of the Design and Technology Academy (D.a.T.A.) and ran a robotics program that supported an international award-winning robotics team. He also held a position for 5 years at High Tech High Point Loma as a mathematics and physics teacher at High Tech High North County. There he developed a cross-curricular PBL environment for math, physics, and humanities. He also pursued and received a Master of Arts in Education with a focus on teacher leadership from the High Tech High Graduate School of Education. He was a founding staff member at "e3 Civic High" located in the new San Diego library. He taught PBL Physics, supported the technology on campus and then became the Facilitator of Innovative Learning Design.
Joe now works with Thrive Public Schools, a Next Generation Breakthrough Model School and named one of the “Top 100 Schools Worth Visiting” in America by Tom VanderArk, founder of Getting Smart. Joe has served as Dean of Students and is now teaching Middle School Math, Physics and Science through PBL .
Joe truly enjoys sharing his understandings of PBL, STEAM and Blended environments with a special affinity for getting others involved in tinkering and the Maker Movement!