San Rafael High School Physics Instructor Named Marin Teacher of the Year

District officials consider Steven Temple a “21st Century educator.”

Steven Temple with Paul Cohen, San Rafael City Schools District Board of Trustees president. Courtesy image
Steven Temple with Paul Cohen, San Rafael City Schools District Board of Trustees president. Courtesy image

The following is a lightly edited press release from the Marin County Superintendent of Schools:


Marin County Superintendent of Schools, Mary Jane Burke, recently announced that San Rafael High School Physics Teacher, Steven Temple, has been selected as the Marin County Teacher of the Year for 2014. Mr. Temple’s nomination will be submitted to the California Department of Education for consideration as one of the five California Teachers of the Year for 2014.

Steven Temple has been a teacher in the San Rafael City Schools since 2001. At San Rafael High School, he expanded his areas of teaching beyond physics to include being the digital high school coordinator and career technical education department chair. He has been a pioneer in creating “academies” within the high school where all subjects are integrated with a particular focus. His day is typically split between the engineering program and digital media production. His classrooms look more like workshops where desks are replaced by workbenches equipped with tools, computer interfaces and lab equipment or video editing booths with sound and video equipment. All of this is designed so that students are learning through experimenting, designing, creating and critiquing. Student interaction and communication are emphasized and teamwork is essential to success.

Mr. Temple holds a Masters of Science Teaching Degree from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. He also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in History from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He received his Teaching Credential from the University of New Mexico. 

Steven Temple was a pioneer in practices that are now regarded as 21st century standards. In his first teaching assignment, he worked collaboratively with a math teacher to create an integrated Physics-Mathematics program. This was a formative experience that has guided Mr. Temple’s work for his entire career. In his own words, Mr. Temple says, “If I step out of the role as ‘knower’ and move my students from consumers of knowledge to constructors of their own knowledge, they will truly develop the inquiry skills they need to discover the truth for themselves.”

 “When I hear the term “21st Century Educator,” I always think of Steve Temple first. He exemplifies the 21st century educator and that which is our future,” said Dr. Michael Watenpaugh, superintendent of San Rafael City Schools. “When you talk to Steve, the conversations inevitably circle back to discussions about teaching and learning. He is a fluid thinker, striving to engage each student beyond the recall of facts and formulas. He intentionally designed and integrated learning experiences with a focus on process and outcomes. Steve creates an environment where ‘mistakes’ are viewed as part of the learning process.”

“Steven Temple is an example of the more than 1,900 creative, visionary, dedicated professionals who daily teach in the classrooms of the Marin County schools preparing our children to live fulfilled, productive lives,” said Mary Jane Burke, Marin County superintendent of schools. “He is not afraid to try new ideas. He understands the role of technology, collaboration with colleagues and the integration of all disciplines to give students the knowledge and skills they will need to compete in the modern world. He is committed to reaching all students. San Rafael High School, San Rafael City Schools and all of Marin County are fortunate to have an educator of the high caliber of Mr. Temple to be the Marin County Teacher of the Year for 2014.”





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