Gerald Gontarz was born and raised in Massachusetts. After serving four years in the Air Force where he fixed radar on f-4 fighter planes he completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies at the University of Lowell in Lowell Mass. He received a Master of Education degree from Plymouth State College in 1992.
Since 1978 Gerry has taught at Plymouth Elementary School in Plymouth New Hampshire where he met his future wife, and best friend, Susan. They live in Plymouth with their two children, Ryan and Kayla. In the summer, Gerry likes to boat with his family on Squam Lake in New Hampshire as well as watch his kids play sports all year long.
Gerry takes his boat for a spin around Squam Lake. ©AMNH
Gerry has spent some time traveling on so-called “science fieldtrips.” He accompanied a group from the Lamont-Doherty Tree Ring Lab to Tasmania, Australia and New Zealand. The Tasmania portion of the trip included a two-week stay in the Tasmanian Rainforest where he slept in a tent. The mission was to dig ancient trees out of the jungle floor and see what climate data the rings contained. Gerry’s job was to rinse off the logs, band and mark the samples, and do other menial labor. He also has been on two guided fieldtrips to Belize, staying with local people both times.
Gerry is a proponent of hands on education. His yearly lesson plans include an overnight trip to the ocean, an airplane egg drop, a hot air balloon launch and a greenhouse project. He also loves online education and the promise that it holds.