Cover Letter

From: Ray Cinti

I have been teaching Anatomy & Physiology and Biology since graduating from the University of California (Davis) in 1988. My professional successes in the classroom have been profoundly satisfying and perhaps have received more praise than they deserve (see resume). For the past 26 years I’ve been the Science Department Chair at a private California high school and have taught Honors Biology, AP Biology, Conservation Biology and Honors Anatomy & Physiology. Documentation in my resume shows that in the past 20 years 81% of my AP Biology students have passed the AP exam with scores of four or five. My resume also offers a glimpse of my combination of traditional classroom and innovative teaching methodology that students so appreciate. For example, most of my classes are quite traditional, but I also use over 300 of my own instruction videos that I have uploaded to YouTube. Outside the classroom, these learning capsules have over 1,500,000 views worldwide. Links to these and a sampling of viewer comments are provided in my resume.

After many years teaching in San Francisco, my wife and I have decided to return to Vermont, the beautiful state where she was born and raised. Christy Cinti is now teaching science to 6th through 8th graders in Burlington. I'm currently teaching Biology and Advanced Biology at the Green Mountain Valley School in the town of Waitsfield. I'm also an adjunct Professor of Anatomy and Physiology at the Community College of Vermont in the city of Winooski.

Surprisingly, I have enjoyed the time I have spent organizing my portfolio as I prepared for positions in the state of Vermont. It has allowed me the luxury of reflecting on my cognitive “meta journey” into my teaching practices over the past two decades as a professionally committed Science teacher. Being a teacher demands constant adaptation to respond to both technological change as well as changes in the students entrusted to our care.

I believe that the formal education a teacher receives is just a starting point. My Science and Education degrees (and teaching credential) from U.C. Davis and then my recent Masters’ degree from the University of San Francisco have been invaluable sources of pedagogical skills (and no small amount of inspiration) but I have found that the real secret to being a good educator comes from thoughtful experience gained over the years in the classroom. For example, I have found that my many week-long AP Biology field trips (often to the “back bush” of Yosemite) have given me transforming insights into how students think about themselves and the natural world. This has been an enormous (and privileged) stimulus to my professional development. See my resume for a listing of these field trips.

I am confident that you will see in my portfolio that I have not only kept current with the craft of teaching science, but have integrated many, many modern techniques into my classrooms that have been recognized by students, parents, colleagues, and professional organizations. The positive responses to these innovations (such as flip teaching) have been gratifying and reinforcing, but are also a catalyst to my own growth and professional development. Thus, when the University of San Francisco offered me the opportunity to study for a Master of Arts in Education with a specialty in Digital Media and Learning, I jumped at the chance.  I have never been more excited about teaching. 

Over the years, I have had the honor of teaching more than 2,500 students, and I’m proud of each of them. They have worked hard in my classes and I have worked hard to connect with them. The work effort that these students have shown—especially in my labs—has been most remarkable and a source of great joy. I have enormous faith in today’s young people. I’ve coached the Cross Country team, attended their musicals, cheered them on the sports field, served the community by their side, and even shared a tear with them in tragedy. They are a remarkable generation who deserve more credit than they are typically accorded by popular press.

It would be too easy to dismiss the successes of my students to the fact that I have taught at a well-respected private school. While there is some truth to this, every group contains a number of lethargic underachieving students, and I have had success with them as well. But perhaps more compellingly, the success of my You Tube videos provide testimony to my ability to reach a very broad selection of hundreds of thousands of students from all over the world—many of them experiencing my classes in their second language. These students are of all ages and ability levels. Please refer to some of their comments in the pdf file linked in my resume. With today’s stretched budget, I’ve added grant writing to my ‘toolkit’ as a science educator.

In the last several years, I’ve been awarded six grants totaling over $32,000.  This not only takes some of the pressure off the school budget for innovative equipment and supplies, but also conveys the importance of research to students because it is being recognized as such from an outside organization.  

It should be apparent that, for me, teaching is not merely a job. It is a calling and a vocation that I hope helps me to realize the highest goals of the profession. I am still inspired by the observation of Henry Adams:  “A teacher touches eternity. He can never tell where his influence stops.”