In her ninth year of teaching in the Pace Upper School, science teacher Brianna Korb has decided to take a step away from the classroom. Whether it be in working with the annual Phlotilla for the freshman class or working with AP Physics students and the freshmen at Six Flags each spring, Mrs. Korb has undoubtedly left a lasting impression on her students.
Having joined the Pace faculty in August 2011, Mrs. Korb has taught ninth grade physics to AP Physics and even freshman Transitions classes. She has also coached JV volleyball and robotics.
Mrs. Korb helped her students to gain skills of problem solving, experimental design and conceptual understanding of the natural world. By teaching physics to freshmen, she exposed her students to physical systems that would become applicable in their later science courses, like chemistry and biology.
In an email written to Head of Upper School Mike Gannon, Mrs. Korb expressed her sentiments: “I’ve enjoyed working with hundreds of motivated students and wish my students well in their pursuits,” she said. “To my current students: I am sorry we will not complete this year together. I have enjoyed having each of you in my classes and want to encourage you to pursue your academic studies with passion and purpose.”
Many of Mrs. Korb’s former students remember how supportive she was and how much she cared for each student. “She was a really hard teacher and her class was definitely not easy, but she was very helpful,” said freshman Hunt Stevens. “I always knew I could come see her, and I learned a lot from her.”
Other students reminisce on the projects that Mrs. Korb assigned each year, and how she helped them to become better team players and problem solvers. “I specifically remember the thermos project because I liked being able to experiment with my creativity,” said junior Caroline McCullough, who had Mrs. Korb her freshman year.
Although students said that she was a tough teacher, many believe that as they grew older, they began to appreciate her more. “Freshman year was not easy for me, but having had her for four months senior year, I started to realize how great of a teacher she was,” said senior Will Stratton. “I think as I matured, she began to like me more which in turn helped me to do better in her class. I believe this is a detrimental loss to Pace and I just want to say ‘thank you, Mrs. Korb, for letting me be myself and giving us a strong four months this year.’”
As Mrs. Korb has left mid-semester, Technology Coordinator Neil DeRosa, science teacher Betsy Costley and science department chairperson John Pearson have already stepped up to teach her classes. Mr. DeRosa, who has served previously as an upper school science teacher and science department chairperson at Pace, has already begun teaching an AP Physics class, and he will do so until a replacement arrives for the spring semester.
“The kids are great,” said Mr. DeRosa. “They are super cooperative and very smart kids. I just want to get them to where they feel comfortable with knowing the material for the AP test. I hope to give them the same quality of instruction as they were receiving when Mrs. Korb was here.”