Department SpotlightWhitworth Faculty Inspired Alumnus to Excel as a Teacher
Tom Seidenberg, '73, loves to teach. After earning degrees in geology and physical education from Whitworth and a master's degree in mathematics from Central Washington University, Seidenberg knew that he wanted to dedicate the rest of his life to teaching.
"I had some of the best teachers I've ever known at Whitworth: Ed Olson in geology; Ross Cutter in PE; Cal Riemcke as my basketball coach; and Howard Gage and John Vanderbeek in mathematics," Seidenberg recalls. "They were all wonderful, thoughtful, caring teachers. Teaching just seemed like the natural thing for me to do after graduating from Whitworth."
Seidenberg has taught math at Washington's Leavenworth High School (1974-1977); at Eisenhower High, in Yakima (1977-1990); and at Phillips Exeter Academy, in New Hampshire (1990-present).
"Exeter is a wonderful place to teach," he says. "The students are highly motivated, class sizes are small, the facilities are excellent, and my colleagues are talented and supportive."
Since Seidenberg began teaching he has received numerous awards, including the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching (Washington state, 1987); the Tandy Technology Scholar Award (1993); and the Roger Brown Teaching Award (Phillips Exeter Academy, 1995).
In addition to teaching at Exeter, Seidenberg has also directed the annual Phillips Exeter Academy's Math, Science and Technology Conference for the past 10 years.
Begun in 1985 as a regional math-only event, the conference now attracts teachers from around the globe; this year's event attracted an estimated 300 high-school teachers.
"The conference is intended to demonstrate how technology, calculators and computers can be used to enhance the teaching of science and mathematics; to provide an opportunity for science teachers and mathematics teachers to interact and talk about their respective disciplines; and to celebrate teaching as a profession," Seidenberg says.
Carrying on the Seidenberg family's passion for education, Seidenberg's wife, Lynn, a 1971 graduate of Whitworth, works in the college office at Exeter; his son, Nathan, teaches history at Hotchkiss School, in Connecticut; and his daughter, Anne, works in admissions at the Putney School, in Vermont.
Like any truly dedicated teacher, Seidenberg says his plans for the future are to continue to provide the best conference for mathematics and science teachers possible and to continue to be the best classroom teacher he can be.