Sean Hammer '08

Sean Hammer demonstrating a science experiment
Mentored: 
David Ponton

Sean Hammer teaches Biology and AP Biology at Ewing High School, where he has been a member of the faculty since January 2009. During the 2010-2011 academic year, Sean partnered with social studies teacher David Ponton, '09 to design an original interdisciplinary unit on race and cancer between their honors biology and African American history courses. Students in both classes read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks while learning about the molecular mechanisms of cancer and completing a "cancer journal” project, in which each of our students was "given" symptoms and a diagnosis, researched their conditions, chose treatment options, and ultimately learned their final prognosis. The project culminated in a panel discussion with real cancer survivors that had a profound impact on the students' world views. Reflecting on the experience, students commented that "today's discussion changed the way I think about cancer" and "from this discussion, I now believe that nobody should be denied health care." Any educator strives to create meaningful and memorable experiences for his or her students; for Sean, this collaboration with a fellow TPP alum was one of the highlights of his career. Sean has also led several district-level professional development workshops, primarily focusing on the integration of technology into the classroom. In addition to his teaching duties, he also serves on the district technology sub-committee and as the Class of 2012 co-advisor.

Last year, Sean assumed the role of Student Council Advisor and helped transform the culture of the school through a variety of activities ranging from spirit days and pep rallies to mascot auditions, the fan bus, and charity drives. Dr. Logan, Principal of Ewing High School says, “Sean Hammer is a self-starter who has nearly single-handedly redefined the meaning of school spirit. Whether setting up a cook-out, coordinating a pie-in-the-face fundraiser or running a pep rally, Sean is always focused on increasing student participation while raising the entire student body’s pride in Ewing High School.” For his efforts, Sean was named Ewing High School's 2014 Teacher of the Year. In addition to running Student Council, Sean is leading the charge to integrate Common Core literacy standards and the Next Generation Science and Engineering Practices into the high school science curriculum. Last December, he completed his Masters of Public Health at the University of Pennsylvania, and his goal is to soon begin implementing school-based public health initiatives that will improve the health, academic performance, and overall well-being of all Ewing High School students.