This page (and site) remain under construction. I started this page on February 8, 2017. What appears below is its fourth edition.

I began teaching for the Philadelphia school district in 2004 following a 20-year diverse engineering career. When I made the career transition, I intended to become a physics teacher. However, I was hired as a chemistry teacher because of the demand for that position. I am triple certified by the PA department of education to teach secondary Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics. I currently teach or have taught 10/11the grade Chemistry, Environmental Science, Engineering Elective, and 9th grade Physical Science. In summer programs, I taught Forensics, Algebra and Geometry.

Before coming to George Washington High School in 2008, I taught at Mastbaum, a vocational school in North Philadelphia. There, I founded and coached the Mastbaum chess team. Mastbaum is a 100% economically disadvantaged intercity school. All four of my senior players, those who stayed with the team from 9th grade graduated from college, remarkable for a school that had less than 15% of their graduates even continue to college.
Although I have never been ranked, I love chess and win more games than I lose against total strangers on-line. Only the best players in high school beat me at chess and I enjoy teaching the game. It is the only game I have played continuously since the age of seven.

Prior to working with the district I had 20-year progressive engineering career in the Philadelphia region in a variety of industries, companies, and positions including R&D/commercialization of process equipment for plastics and rubber, manufacturing of film products, technical sales, glass and ceramics decoration, high resolution screen and gravure printing, environmental testing, and aluminum extrusion. I earned my Bachelors in Science degree in chemical engineering from Drexel and a Master’s in Business Administration from Temple. I sometimes say to my students that I went from the highest paying job that requires a college degree, a chemical engineer, to the lowest and that it was never my intention to become a teacher until I became a parent.

I married my wife, Cheryl, a graduate of George Washington High School, in 1990. She is a local personal injury attorney practicing law in PA and NJ since 1988. She began her career as a special education teacher. We have two children, Jeremy who is attending medical school at Johns Hopkins University (Class of 2020), and Jessica, who is finishing her last year at the University of Pennsylvania school of veterinary medicine (Class of 2018).

I am skilled with the tools of many trades; plumbing, welding, carpentry, masonry, electronics, and automotive engine/body repair. In addition to allowing me to fix almost anything that breaks, these skills allow me to develop and perform dramatic hands-on classroom demonstrations that my students enjoy.

I continue professional development whenever I get the opportunity. Among my favorites were the programs offered by The American Society of Materials and NASTAR.

My hobbies include home and auto repair, motorcycle riding, SCUBA diving, watching movies and live theatre, cooking, hot and spicy foods, bicycling, swimming, playing racquetball, and several iPhone games (e.g. words with friends, chess with friends, and candy crush saga). Regard hot and spicy foods, I have tasted and attempted to grow the Carolina Reaper and stock the Bhut Jolokia in my kitchen.

In the 2008-2009 school year, I was awarded a grant from the state of Pennsylvania called “Classrooms for the future” (CFF). The CFF grant required me to take an online course, included mentoring from a technology specialist and former classroom teacher, and provided equipment that included an Apple MacBook computer, a digital projector, a computer cart with a classroom set of computers, software, and an interactive whiteboard. Although the classroom computers that came with that grant are now obsolete and out of service, that grant gave birth to this website and it continues to grow. I hope you enjoy it and use it to your benefit.

Send me an e-mail if you would like to provide a comment or ask a question to mdapplebaum@philasd.org .