Jan Mader 2013 Election Bio

Jan Landis Mader

2013 National Executive Board Election Candidate for At-Large High School Representative

Jan Landis Mader

Great Falls High School
1900 2nd Ave S
Great Falls, MT 59405


Montana State University Bozeman, MT 1972 – 1976     Degree:  B.S. in Physics
NASA Fellowship Recipient 1990 – 1991
University of Northern Iowa 1990 – 1991 M.A. Science Education - physics emphasis

Teaching Experience 

  • Bigfork Public Schools - physics, physical science, mathematics - September 1976 - June 1977
  • Great Falls Public Schools - physics, physical science, chemistry and mathematics, 31 years as a physics instructor - August 1977 to present
  • From August 1988 to the present I have provided in-service in 41 states for K-12 teachers utilizing PRISMS, Mechanical Universe, C3P, and Teaching Physics for the First Time, ELEMENTARY CHEMISTRY, ELEMENTARY PHYSICS and numerous PTRA workshops. The length of the workshops has varied from one day to three weeks.

National AAPT Activities

  • Member of the State & National Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT)
  • Past President of Montana Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers
  • Physics Teaching Resource Agent (PTRA) for AAPT 2002 to present
  • Past Chair of the High School Physics Committee AAPT
  • Co-Principle Investigator on the AAPT/PTRA Rural NSF grant
  • Current member of the Committee on Physics in High Schools Twice I have chaired the committee.
  • Prior member of the Committee on Physics in Pre-High School Education
  • Prior member of the Nominating Committee
  • Prior member of the Committee on Science Education for the Public
  • First female receipt of the Excellence in Pre College Physics Teaching from AAPT 2007
  • Co-recipient of American Physical Society (APS) 2011 Excellence in Physics Education Award

Other Professional Activities and Recognitions

  • Member of NSTA
  • Recipient of the Montana Physics Teacher of the Year Award
  • Dufresne Outstanding Educator Award 1990
  • Montana Finalist for the Presidential Science Award 2007, 2011, and 2013
  • Recipient of the Great Falls Education Foundation Excellence in Education Award 2013
  • Director of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Mathematics and Science Workshops and Summer Institute
  • Director, Curriculum Developer and Lead Instructor of the Idaho State University MSP Grant and Rural PTRA workshops 2003 – present
  • Science Curriculum Developer for the Montana Striving Readers Grant at Great Falls High School 2012 – to present
  • Instructor for MIET Montana Institute on Education Technology
  • From June 1989 to present I have presented workshops, invited and contributed papers at 48 AAPT (national and state), APS, NSTA and SOAR conferences. 


I was introduced to AAPT in 1987 when I was “dorm mom” for the summer meeting at Montana State University.  That experience ignited a fire that has encouraged me to regularly attend winter and summer meetings: my “addiction” according to my friends and family.  I have gathered a wealth of information and camaraderie that is difficult to find as a rural physics instructor.  I was a good educator prior to that meeting but the exposure to AAPT members, PER and instructional technologies broadened my horizons allowing me to become a master teacher. The winter of 1989 I presented my first contributed paper with Phd. Roy Unruh. In the summer at San Luis Obispo, CA I presented a workshop for high school teachers. Imagine my panic to discover the author of the book I used in my honors physics class, Alan Van Heuvlen, sitting in the workshop waiting for instructions on how and where to begin.  The acceptance of high school instructors by physics researchers and college professors is one of the reasons I have continued to attend the AAPT meetings for twenty seven years.  We are the American Association of Physics Teachers and the passion that we share for education from pre-high school through graduate school binds us together.

In 1992 AAPT provided another blessing. I became a PTRA at the Orono Maine meeting.  I had attended PTRA sessions at other meetings but now I was official. I took to heart the directive to go forth and “physicize” the world and have never looked back.  My experiences with and through my association with the American Association of Physics Teachers have prepared me to make significant contributions to physics education not only for my own students but to the students of teachers whom I mentor.  I have instructed hundreds of teachers from elementary to junior college through the PTRA program in content and pedagogy. The American Association of Physics Teachers and the PTRA program have opened many doors. I continue mentoring teachers new to physics instruction and provide elementary and middle school teachers with the content and confidence to integrate physics and physical science into their curricula.

I would be honored to represent the high school community on the board.  I believe that with the number of current physics teachers reaching retirement age, the younger generation needs to be encouraged to become members of the organization.  They have a wealth of 21st century technology and insights that would enrich our current approach to meeting transmission and E-instruction.  With limited financial support from their institutions the cost of attending meetings is becoming prohibitive.  I appreciate the efforts the board has made to have teacher days or charge a reduced registration for workshop days only.  Granted the plenaries and sessions are a large portion of the meeting that I enjoy, but before you can get the fish in the boat you have to hook him.  My initial experience in 1987 was my hook and it made a believer out of me. As my students teasingly comment when I go to the AAPT meetings, I am heading off to physics nerd camp.