Meet the New Teachers: Dr. Higgins

As he bounces through the hallways saying hello to almost everyone he passes, Dr. Higgins gives off a contagious feeling of excitement that is hard to ignore. Many of his students, both in AP and freshman Biology, have attested to his love for the subject and how that passion carries into his effectiveness as a teacher. When asked if he would be interviewed by the Sentinel, Dr. Higgins accepted with his characteristic enthusiasm. So, without further ado, let us present the allergic-to-jellyfish, volleyball-coaching, “DJ Higgins” that our community is growing to love.

Ever since he was a kid growing up in Agawam, Massachusetts, Dr. Higgins has known that he has an affinity for marine life. “Once I was at the beach,” he said, “you didn’t see me again – I was playing in tide pools, collecting stuff. I’ve always been fascinated with science.”

Dr. John E. Higgins III, the new Biology teacher here on the Hilltop.

Dr. John E. Higgins III, the new Biology teacher here on the Hilltop.

After graduating from Providence College in Rhode Island, he went straight into a marine science doctoral program on Dauphin Island in Mobile, Alabama. As one of two-percent of the world’s population who are allergic to jellyfish, he also chose to make the creatures his primary study. Dr. Higgins then worked as the chair of the science department at the UMS-Wright School back on the mainland. It was here that after seven years, he decided that needed a change.

He said that he “wanted a school to challenge me professionally, so I could grow. I had gone pretty quickly to the top at my former job and I knew there was a lot more that I could do, and a lot more that I needed to do in terms of personal growth.”

After coming home to the northeast, Dr. Higgins set up a series of interviews with other schools, including St. Luke’s. Though his first interview was off-campus, he came back a few days later to meet with Mr. Yavenditti. “The second I was on campus,” he said eagerly, “I was like, ‘I really hope they offer me a job.’”

However, his deciding factor to come to SLS was that it was the only school in which part of his interview process involved teaching a class. “That spoke volumes to me,” he said, “because they weren’t just hiring someone off the street. It was a challenge.”

As he continues to grow as an individual at St. Luke’s, Dr. Higgins also has plans to help the school develop, saying “I want to revolutionize the biology program: breathe life into it.”

So whether he is coaching the volleyball team to victory, discussing the complexity of jellyfish, or just greeting students in the hallway, Dr. Higgins has become a valuable member of the St. Luke’s community in a matter of days. As he challenges himself to grow to his highest potential, we as a school hope to grow by his side.

Good luck, DJ Higgins, and welcome to SLS.

— Monika Gabriele, Staff Writer

Posted by on September 16, 2013. Filed under School News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

One Response to Meet the New Teachers: Dr. Higgins

  1. Desiree Smock

    September 19, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    Fantastic editorial and intro to Dr. Higgins, Monika! I’ve stepped into one of his classes and definitely felt the energy and enthusiasm you described in your interview. We’re so glad Dr. Higgins chose to join the SLS faculty and community!

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