Faculty Spotlight: Michael Edgar
by Caitlin Connelly on Friday, May 16th, 2014
While walking through the science building, you would be hard-pressed to miss Room 206, a space devoted to whimsical gadgets, a fascinating taxidermied blowfish, and an especially captivating box of gravity-defying sand. Mr. Edgar, the face behind the legendary classroom, has been the Department Chair of the Science Department for twelve years, successfully promoting a cheerful and stimulating learning environment for students and faculty.
Mr. Edgar’s roles on campus range from teaching some of Milton’s most challenging courses to raising his two children in Goodwin House. Although most students know Mr. Edgar as an Honors Biology and Molecular Genetics teacher, his primary responsibility is being Chair of the Science Department. When asked about his accomplishments during his time in this position, Mr. Edgar remarked, “I would say that the transition to the new building, the transition to teaching advanced courses, and our continued focus on inquiry teaching have been my main focus. In addition, I have tried to make the science department a great place for students to work and spend time, because what’s better than science?” Students and faculty who spend the majority of their time in Pritzker could not agree more, and even the most infrequent visitors can’t help but notice Mr. Edgar’s optimism and love of science that are reflected in the lobby, labs, and classrooms.
“I remember one time, Josh Aronson (II) and I were attempting to use these suction cup toys as darts, flinging them at the white board before class,” recalled Matt Langen (II). “When Mr. Edgar walked in, we expected him to be annoyed, but instead he exclaimed we were doing it all wrong and promptly demonstrated his mad skills.” Mr. Edgar balances gregarity and the seriousness of challenging coursework effortlessly. His approachable and friendly demeanor invites students to work through challenging questions. Iladro Sauls (II) commented, “[Mr. Edgar] is a great source of information, and even though I’ve never had him as a teacher for a course, he always is there for me if I have questions about a project.” Lizzy Finer (II) added, “Mr. Edgar is one of those teachers that supports you through anything… he goes above and beyond the normal teacher duties, and I appreciate his understanding and willingness to work with me and other students.”
As Mr. Edgar pointed out, his love for Milton is almost as great as, if not equal to, his love of biology—and it would be an understatement to say that Mr. Edgar adores biology. “I love Milton for the students mostly; they are very creative, smart, friendly, and a joy to teach,” he said fondly. “I also love the Science Department and working with the faculty. We all really enjoy each other, we love to kid around, and we love to think about science and education.”
The Milton community undeniably reciprocates Mr. Edgar’s affection. Steven Char (II) said, “Mr. Edgar’s love for Biology comes out in every class, and his sense of wonder rubs off on all of us; he’s always asking ‘How cool is that?!’ and it really is cool.” Ms. Seplaki, a faculty member in the Science Department, remarked, “Mr. Edgar is an inspiring and compassionate leader, and he has done an exceptional job of guiding and supporting our Department. His genuine care for students is evident as is his unwavering passion for science and innovation in the discipline. I find it a privilege to have him as a colleague.” As part of the Milton community, Mr. Edgar believes he has hit the jackpot, saying, “I get to be creative about what I teach and develop new labs. My two academic loves are biology and teaching, so on a daily basis I get to be immersed in both. Milton is a wonderful place.” Again, the feeling is most definitely mutual; the Science Department and the entire Academy are lucky to have Mr. Edgar and will continue to be inspired by his passion and open mind.
Next year, Mr. Edgar will lamentably be leaving his current position of Department Chair; however, his presence will prevail as the beloved teacher plans to assume new teaching responsibilities. Among them is Advanced Biology, a course that will have to run two or even three sections next school year to accommodate the consummate amount of student interest. Thanks to his humor, refreshing spirit, and, of course, his mad skills, Mr. Edgar truly leaves big shoes to fill.
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