Laura Lenz Leaves Novato High
By Matt Frey
On August 31, Novato High biology teacher Laura Lenz announced to students that she is leaving Novato High. The reason for her departure is a “once in a lifetime” deal with Bio-Rad Corporation, a biotech company based in Hercules. Her role in this local company is developing and creating a science curriculum for students across the nation.
“What is really exciting to me that I could not pass up, is an opportunity to work with teachers all over the country and I get a chance to fly all over the country, talk to teachers and kind of help them think about how to teach science better,” said Lenz. “Therefore, I am getting a more broader, a more global view on education and hopefully impacting what I learned at Novato High School to the nation.”
As Lenz put it, she will use what she crafted at Novato High and utilize it to create a better life-science curriculum for students across the states.
Lenz remained vague about other interests and what they might be besides her work. Although, she did mention improving the Bio-Rad Corporation and how teachers and she might propel a whole new generation of science. For instance, she will be working with DNA fingerprinting and a new technology called CRISPR. CRISPR is a genetic engineering tool that uses a CRISPR sequence of DNA and its associated protein to edit the base pairs of a gene.
“A new technology called CRISPR is able to figure out what your DNA specifically is and potentially cure any viruses of the gene,” Lenz explained. “Like if you have the gene for breast cancer, they are trying to figure out ways where they can remove that gene or fix it somehow, so you no longer have a genetic risk of acquiring breast cancer . . . that's biotechnology!”
Lenz taught at Novato High for three years overall. She replaced another biology teacher that also resigned from NHS, Ethan Blankenship. Like Blankenship, she got the best of Novato’s lovely administration. Lenz has been known to be a great teacher to many students at NHS, but there are some students that did not understand her methods. She had some classes that loved her heavy demands but she also had some classes that did not understand her methods.
Sophomore Emanuel Mazariegos shared his thoughts about Lenz.
“Mrs. Lenz is a great teacher, although when the big rival football game versus San Rafael came, that was to take place on Saturday and Homecoming, the next day, Mrs. Lenz would be the only teacher to assign a 120 point project due on Monday,” said Mazariegos. “But I understood that it would be for the bigger and better picture.”
Unlike other students, Mazariegos was more understanding about her principles and looked at the broader outcome.
The biology community at NHS is very focused on seeing the diverse science department grow from the past, as well as competing with San Marin's STEM Program. Therefore, Lenz quitting is like losing the nucleus of a cell. Losing one teacher in the middle of the year makes it hard to search for a strong replacement. Similarly, if Product Design and Physics teacher, Glenn Corey decided to quit, it would be a tragedy to the NHS science department. Lenz’s departure could have the same effect on the students.
Lenz left some parting words of wisdom, “We’re only ever guaranteed today, so make the most out of today."