Middle School Science Teacher, Gateway to Mastery™

Jeff Burgard

Middle School Science Teacher, Gateway to Mastery™

Passion, Expertise and Contribution

Support the development of a 12-month professional development strategy on Educating for Sustainability (EfS) for Sustainability Ambassadors’ PBL Curriculum Design Labs.


Serve as a change agent and key communicator within the Pine Lake Middle School community and engage the administration of the Issaquah School District to open district-wide possibilities.


Collaborate with OSPI’s Environmental and Sustainability Education Program in sharing success stories and models state-wide.


Develop and share Science lessons with an emphasis on integrating Impact Project Design.


Coordinate a Professional Training series on Gateway to Mastery and Standards-based Assessment.


Seek opportunities to present at professional teacher conferences and publish EfS-PBL success stories on teacher blogs or other professional association platforms.


Participate in one or more Curriculum Design Labs to support both teachers and students in applied problem solving.


Support career-connected learning by developing opportunities for students to explore Green Job Youth Pathways profiles and resources.


Support Ambassadors in building positive scenarios for the year 2050 through the Summer Series of 2050 WORKOUTS.


Attend the annual 2050 Update (August) and help promote it as widely as possible.

About Jeff

Jeff spent half of his college life as an engineering major before finding a passion for teaching. With a certificate from California State University Sacramento in 1992, Jeff began teaching middle school Language Arts and Social Studies to 6th graders in Redding California.


Over the next 11 years, he transitioned to 7th grade Math and then finally to 8th grade Science – coaching wrestling, track and volleyball along the way. Jeff spent summers working as a whitewater raft guide, on Northern California Rivers, and he developed the “River Awareness” course. This course took place on a whitewater river and incorporated activities about regional settlers and native history, riparian botany, aquatic insects, gold mining, river hydraulics and basic river guiding.  In 1999, Jeff authored the book “Continuous Improvement in the Science Classroom” and began part time consulting work. He backpacked around the world to visit schools and interview teachers in 15 countries, as well as conduct workshops and seminars in Nepal, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Australia and Indonesia. Upon his return, he went to work as the sole middle school teacher at a natural sciences-based charter school.


After running the program for two years, Jeff and his wife started a consulting business to teach a philosophy for increasing student learning and enthusiasm called Gateway to Mastery – based on his book. In 2008, after 6 years of conducting PD workshops and seminars in 27 states, Jeff went back to teaching 8th grade science in Sammamish, WA. In the 12 years since, he obtained National Board certification, led his school's sustainability in the curriculum initiative, and obtained his Masters of Education in Educating for Sustainability.