Fernbank Science Center Faculty
Bill Witherspoon, PhD
Bill Witherspoon has been teaching geology and environmental-related topics to K-12 teachers and students since joining Fernbank Science Center in 1997. Bill grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee and received a liberal arts education at New College in Florida, before turning to geology and earning his PhD from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1981. His dissertation was on the structural geology of the Great Smoky Mountains.
He taught undergraduates at UTK and UT Chattanooga, then worked for 3 years in the petroleum industry in Canada and Alaska, before spending 12 years developing software as co-owner of a small company. He caught his interest in K-12 science education while volunteering at his son Noah's school. He studied in the Georgia State University's pioneering TEEMS program for science professionals seeking K-12 certification, before accepting the position at Fernbank. He has been delighted to teach the Geology unit of STT, Advanced Studies classes on energy and the environment, professional development classes that have included a trip to the Grand Canyon, and single visit and outreach programs that emphasize outdoor education and hands-on geology.
Bill is an author of the Georgia Performance Standards for high school Earth Systems Science, and a member of the Science Education Advisory Committee for the Georgia Department of Education since its 2006 inception. He is newsletter editor for the Southeastern Section of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, and the coauthor, with Pamela Gore, of the forthcoming Roadside Geology of Georgia (Mountain Press).