Richard W. Schmidt, Ed.D.
Science Department Head, UDHS
2011 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching awardee
Rick Schmidt was hired by the Upper Dublin School District in July of 1993 as an earth and space instructor at Sandy Run Middle School following completion of undergraduate studies at Penn State University in both Secondary Education and Earth Sciences. During his tenure at Sandy Run, Schmidt was heavily involved in a restructuring of the earth and space curriculum, served as a subcommittee co-chair during the 1997 K-12 science curriculum review and along with colleague and mentor John Selgrath, moved the earth and space science curriculum to the forefront of technology integration inside the district.
In 2001, Schmidt transferred to Upper Dublin High School where he taught environmental science while also authoring Forensic Science 323, the first full year course of its kind in the Philadelphia region. In 2002, Schmidt completed the Advanced Earth and Science course, his second major curricular initiative in as many years. The course was again the first of its kind at Upper Dublin High School and quickly gained notoriety for its college-level geoscience instruction, something rarely found in high schools. The course was originally offered at the Honors level (371H) and as a Level 2 course (372). Through the years, the AES curriculum introduced many technology-based evolutions including the use of satellite/remote sensing equipment for meteorology instruction as well as an extensive SCUBA-based marine archaeology unit.
In the fall of 2009, Schmidt successfully brokered a partnership with officials of the State University of New York’s (Oneonta) Earth Science Department to bring university-accredited geoscience education to Upper Dublin School District for the first time in its history. Under the dual credit agreement, UDHS students were able to gain college credit by enrolling in and successfully completing a course of study in the new Advanced Geosciences 371H (first offered during the 2010-2011 school year) and/or the Advanced Geosciences 381H (first offered in 2011-2012). Each course consisted of an intense investigation into two of the four traditional earth and space science fields with AGS 371H covering 16 weeks of meteorology and oceanography each and the AGS 381H curriculum composed of 16 weeks of instruction in geology and astronomy. These two courses replaced the original AES 371H curriculum which taught all four subjects in a single year. With the assistance of SUNY, a new dual enrollment agreement was created in the Fall of 2015 with locally accessible West Chester University and fluorishes to the present day. Until 2016 when another high school also approached West Chester University using the UD model, Upper Dublin's AGS courses were the first and only high school geoscience courses in Pennsylvania's 500 public school districts to be accredited by a four year university. The program remains at the forefront of high school geoscience education nationwide.
Schmidt has been recognized numerous times for his innovative work in geoscience education. In 2005, he was inducted into West Chester University’s 3E Institute "Educator 500" for excellence in entrepreneurial education. In 2008, the National Association of Geoscience Teachers recognized Schmidt as the Outstanding Earth Science Teacher for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania while the Geological Society of America presented him with an Award For Excellence in Earth Science Teaching. Schmidt’s accomplishments were also recognized by the Pennsylvania State University’s World Campus as part of their Be Exceptional campaign. In 2011, he was one of ninety-seven science and mathematics teachers from around the nation honored with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, the highest math and science teaching award in the nation. Schmidt was the only geoscience instructor to receive the award that year.
In addition to his teaching responsibilities at Upper Dublin High School, Schmidt coached boys soccer for 21 years and is the most successful boys soccer head coach in the district's history. He continues to teach the AES/AGS curricula and forensics while serving as the head of the high school's science department. From 2006-2008, Schmidt served as a special consultant to the Upper Dublin School District during a district-wide emergency management evaluation due to his 28 years experience in the volunteer fire service where he occupied positions up to the rank of Assistant Fire Chief. He currently acts as an emergency management coordinator for Upper Dublin High School. Schmidt has taught as an adjunct instructor at the Delaware County Community College where, in 2004, he designed and then taught Leadership and Influence in Emergency Response, a study of leadership and management practices and theory for emergency service personnel.
In 2013, Schmidt completed his doctoral studies in Educational Leadership at Drexel University where his dissertation, Bridging the Geoscience Workforce Gap: Advanced High School Geoscience Programs centered on advanced high school geoscience curricula in high schools across the nation and their potential impact for undergraduate programs and the geoscience workforce. In addition to duties associated with serving as UDHS's Science Department Head (since 2012), Schmidt’s current academic interests center on the development of K-12/higher ed. partnerships (most recently with West Chester University), educating the geoscience professional community on the value of working with the nation's high schools, and as an instructor and research associate of the Bighorn Basin Dinosaur Project, an ongoing paleontological field study in Wyoming and Montana associated with the New Jersey State Museum and the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.
Ed.D. Educational Leadership, Drexel University
M.Ed.Curriculum and Instruction, Pennsylvania State University
B.S. Earth Sciences,Pennsylvania State University
B.S. Secondary Education,Pennsylvania State University
Certificate of Achievement in Weather Forecasting, Pennsylvania State University
Earth and Space Science, PA Instructional II
General Science, PA Instructional II
School Administrator-Principal (PA)
Curriculum Design Experience
Advanced Geosciences 381H (2011), Upper Dublin High School
Advanced Geosciences 371H (2010), Upper Dublin High School
Leadership and Influence in Emergency Response (2004), Delaware County Comm. College
Advanced Earth and Space Science (2002), Upper Dublin High School
Forensic Science (2001), Upper Dublin High School
28Oct13, Geological Society of America Annual Meeting and Exposition, Denver, CO: Fanning the Flames of Student Interest: Dual Credit Courses and Recruitment of Geoscience Majors (w/ Dr. Jim Ebert, SUNY Oneonta)
06Aug14 - STEMathon 2014, Harrisburg, PA: STEM: What Inspires You?
06Sept14 - Lafayette College, Easton, PA: Critical Connections Between High School and College Geoscience Education
22Oct14 - West Chester University, West Chester, PA: High School and Higher Education Partnerships: Bridging the Geoscience Workforce Gap
01Nov15 - Geological Society of America Annual Meeting and Exposition, Baltimore, MD: A Well Untapped: Overcoming the Obstacles Inhibiting Dual Enrollment Agreements in the Geosciences (w/ Dr. Martin Helmke, West Chester University)
Forensic Science (2001), Upper Dublin High School