Neal Bottom is the 7th Grade Math Teacher at Caliber Beta Academy. This is his second year at Beta. Another member of the 7th grade team recently said about Neal: "Neal is calm, steady, and reliable. He's a great role model in terms of how to better balance work and life. He goes above and beyond to make sure kids are getting the math personalization that they need by splitting his class into three sections, even if it means more work on his part."
Learn all about Neal:
"I grew up in the Bay Area and have lived here my entire life with the exception of 5 years in the Navy as a hospital corpsman. After the Navy, I spent several years working for Fortune 500 companies, including Cadbury Schweppes and Progressive Insurance. During this time I received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master of Science in Human Resources and Organizational Leadership. My wife and I owned a consulting firm for over 3 years, providing leadership development and support to Bay Area businesses and government organizations. It was through this work that I found teaching. I noticed that there were several issues that we were helping to resolve at an organizational level that could easily be addressed within our schools. To be effective in the workforce, students need to be encouraged to be curious, to work collaboratively, and to be effective communicators. I ended up at Caliber after looking for a school that exemplifies these characteristics and allows teachers the latitude to teach and model these in the classroom.
On the personal side, my wife and I live in Alameda with our three year old twin daughters. They are the highlight of my day. I love coming home to their excitement to see me and calls for "Daddy!""
A recent interview with Neal:
What is your favorite thing about teaching 7th grade Math at Beta?
I love it when we do hands-on projects, when students get to build things and use their imaginations to solve problems.
What was your favorite subject growing up?
Well, it wasn't math, but Economics. Econ seemed so practical back then, but now it just seems highly irrational.
Did you always think you were going to become a teacher?
I had no idea that I would ever be a teacher. I spent more time figuring out how to spend as little time in school as possible! Looking back on my career so far, I've always ended up in positions where I was teaching others.
Favorite candy bar or sweet treat?
Peanut Butter M & M's. But let's be real, I love anything chocolate. As a kid I used to shake every time I saw cake and my family still doesn't let me forget it.
If you could go on a dream vacation, what would you do + where would you go?
I really want to go to Antarctica. Although I think increased tourism is leading to the destruction of the habitat... so I might need to find another place to go.
What is your favorite thing about the Bay Area (or specifically about Richmond!)?
I love the easy access to everything that I love to do. All of the amazing hiking and food!
What is one fun fact that most people don't know about you?
I started working as a paperboy at 11 years old, but one of my most favorite jobs growing up was working on a duck hunting ranch for the then owner of the Seattle Seahawks. We always wanted to fly in his Seahawks helicopter.