Rickards loses another one: Tallahassee physics mainstay Lance King departing

Tallahassee’s Rickards High School will be losing the second member of the physics teaching team that made the school the leader in physics education in Florida’s IB community during the school year that is now closing.

Tallahassee physics mainstay Lance King joined the Rickards faculty this year to help Adam LaMee handle the demand that was generated when Adam convinced the Rickards administration to designate AP Physics 1 as the standard science course for 9th graders in the IB program.

Like Adam, Lance was an FSU physics graduate who taught physics at Lincoln High School for many years during the school’s golden age in science.  About ten years ago, he left Lincoln to become the lecture preparation staffer in the FSU Physics Department.  Shortly afterward, Lance joined the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) as a science specialist, where he staffed the K-12 science standards-setting process in 2007-2008.  That became a very high profile activity, as Florida became ground zero for the national debate over whether evolution should be taught in public school classrooms.

I had supervised Lance during his time as the lecture prep staffer at FSU, but Lance “got his revenge” during the science standards process.  After a difficult experience in a K-12 project around 2000, I had sworn off any K-12 activities.  When the state’s universities were asked to nominate professors to serve on the state’s science standards committee in 2007, I specifically asked that I not be nominated, and I was not.  Imagine my surprise when I received an e-mail from Lance (at FLDOE) informing me that I had been selected for the committee.  He had apparently ignored my absence from FSU’s list of nominees and arranged my appointment, anyway.

In the event, I became way too active and outspoken during the science standards process and afterward.  It is all Lance’s fault.  (It’s worth noting that the Deputy Chancellor had the sense to avoid selecting me for the science standards process that has been underway recently.  Mary Jane – my wife thanks you.)

Lance followed his service at FLDOE (which ended shortly after the science standards process was completed in 2008) with a series of positions in FSU’s Office of Science Teaching Activities.  He then jumped to Rickards in the fall of 2014.

It is a classic understatement to say that Lance will be missed.

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