Curriculum Vitae for Jeff Adkins

About Me
I am a long-time amateur astronomer and a teacher at Deer Valley High School in Antioch, California. Presently I teach 
Astronomy and Space Science, AP Research and Honors Physics

I am the director of the Academic Challenge and Enrichment Academy (ACE) at Deer Valley High School in Antioch, California. 

My primary hobbies are amateur astronomy and fiddling around with my computer. I own two telescopes, a small Newtonian on an equatorial mount and a big 13" Dobsonian from Odyssey. Through these telescopes and others I have seen all the planets except Pluto and about two-thirds of the Messier List. I've seen Mars and Jupiter rotate, watched Mars' polar caps come and go, tracked several comets, and observed galaxies, globular clusters, open clusters, reflection and absorption nebulae, supernova remnants, planetary nebulae, quazars, and plenty of double and multiple star systems.

I also have a collection of hundreds of science fiction novels. My collection includes some signed works by Carl Sagan, everyone from Azimov to Zahn.and a first edition Star Fleet Technical Manual signed by members of the cast of Star Trek TOS.

For contact information, please email me.

Educational certification

Currently certified as a teacher in California public schools in Physics. I have experience teaching at the college level and in a variety of other settings. I have a clear credential in Physics, and an introductory science supplement. 

Educational background

 M.S. in Astronomy from University of Arizona at Tucson, Arizona. Emphasis on Astronomy Education.
1991 21 credit hours towards an M.A. in Physics Education (incomplete) from Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Ky. (Degree work interrupted to pursue the M.S. in Astronomy from the University of Arizona at Tucson.)
B.A. from Berea College, Berea, Kentucky. Major: Physics Education. Minor: Mathematics several hours from a variety of universities for certification requirements and content. 

Work and management experience


September 1998 - present Instructor, Deer Valley High School.
I currently teach Honors Physics,  Physics, Astronomy and Space Science - Articulated, Astronomy Dual-Enrollment (with LMC) and AP Research.  I am also the lead teacher of the Academic Challenge and Enrichment Academy (ACE), a STEAM Academy, at Deer Valley HS.  

Fall 2018-present MESA sponsor for Cal State East Bay’s MESA program at DVHS.

2010 - Author, The Boy Who Skipped

2005-present, Author, Conceptual Astronomy I and II.

2005-2015 NASA Education Ambassador, Sonoma State University. Representing the Fermi mission.

Fall 2005-present Instructor Lost Medanos Community College. I teach Introductory Astronomy (010 LS), a general level science course, and Introductory Physics 015.

October 2000-2008ColumnistLow End Mac. I wrote the Mac Lab Report, a mix of Mac advocacy and how-tos for computers in the science classroom, and am the primary contributor to the Lite Side, a "towering column of humor."

Summer 1998-present Consultant  Adaptive Consulting
Founded consulting business to provide Macintosh computing services specializing in customized Filemaker Pro solutions, with Consulting services provided to New Standards office in Oakland, California, assisting with archiving and computer network maintenance and database design. Worked several days as an Apple specialist for Marketsource, Inc., demonstrating Apple hardware and software for Demo Days. I also provided support for the New Standards' project search for a host site for their large collection of tasks. I have done consulting projects with eeps media, the University of California Office of the President, Stanford University, Sonoma State University, and others. I now do consulting on an ad-hoc basis. My current projects include contributing to the Consumer's Guide to After School Science programs as a reviewer, working with Lake County Office of Education (CA) to develop an astronomy-based curriculum, and working with eeps media to develop curriculum for a new interactive science program.  In recent years I have been presenting public astronomy programs for the Contra Costa County Water District and the City of Antioch Recreation office.  


June 2000-2005, Science Department chair, Deer Valley High School.

Fall 1998-Fall 2004 Instructor Heritage On-Line.
Responsible for teaching a course "Astronomy and the WWW" for teachers offering credit through Antioch University (see Responsible for editing and revising course content, web site content, and interaction with students.

January 1999- June 2000 Science Department co-chair, Deer Valley High School
Responsible for teaching Integrated Science 1 and Integrated Science 2 at Deer Valley High School in Antioch, California. Science Department co-chair along with Ms. Kitty Carton at DVHS. Responsible for science department meetings, placing and supporting orders for equipment and supplies, curriculum advising and related duties.

September 1998 - January 1999 Instructor, Deer Valley High School
Responsible for teaching Integrated Science 1 and Integrated Science 2 at Deer Valley High School in Antioch, California.

September 1997 - September 1998 Director of Assessments, New Standards.
Responsible for the development and implementation of the various assessment systems in the organization, including the 
New Standards Mathematics and English Language Arts examinations.  Computer coordinator for the office network at the Oakland office.  Also responsible for managing the workload distributed among suppo rt staff.

October 1996-October 1997 Chief of Staff, New Standards.
Responsible for the management of half a dozen divisions within the organization, spread across 4 offices located in Pittsburgh (PA), Oakland (CA), Ft. Worth (TX) and Washington (DC). Responsible for budget planning, management of the Reference Examination systems, staff work assignments, Macintosh office network system for the Oakland office, supervising approximately 20 employees in Oakland plus approximately 10 others in other offices. Created a Filemaker-Pro based budget writing system used in FY 1997.

July 1995 - October 1996 Deputy Director of Assessment Development, New Standards Project.
Primary responsibility was managing the implementation of the New Standards Assessment system as described above.

August 1994-June 1995 Coordinator of Assessment Administration, New Standards Project.
Primary responsibility was managing the implementation of the $1.3 million New Standards Mathematics Reference Examination by The Psychological Corporation.

Jan 1994 -July 1994 Assessment Consultant for the New Standards Project.
Assistant to the Director of the Office of Assessment Administration, New Standards.

Fall 1992- Dec. 1993 Science Assessment Consultant, Kentucky Department of Education.Responsible for the management of the development and implementation of the science portion of the Kentucky Instructional Results Information System, the assessment program created by the Kentucky Education Reform Act.

1991-1992 Part-time instructor, Eastern Kentucky University
Employed by Physics Department at Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Kentucky. Taught Introductory Physics and Physics for High School teachers.

1985-1992 Physics and Astronomy instructor,Henry Clay High School, Fayette Co. Kentucky
Henry Clay High School. Started an experimental course, Astronomy and Space Science, to broaden the science options available to students. Taught conceptual physics, introduction to physics and chemistry.

Summers 1985-1988 Instructor, Upward Bound Program
Employed by the Upward Bound Program of Eastern Kentucky University. Taught Algebra, Geometry, BASIC programming, Physics, Astronomy, and Journalism as enrichment courses for disadvantaged youth from the eastern Kentucky area.

1983-1984 Editor, Berea College Pinnacle.
Responsible for the production and management of an independent newspaper for the campus, including the supervision of work-study employees, budget, design, content, layout, production, distribution, advertising, etc.

Summer 1979 and Summer 1980 Professional actor.
Hired as a professional actor during the summers of 1979 and 1980, in the outdoor drama Wilderness Road, by Paul Green. I played understudy to the lead role of Squire Sims, and spent several weeks each summer performing the role.

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Computer experience

I am a long-time Macintosh computer user, but can also find my way around a Windows machine. I have used computers to create and read in bubble-type scan forms, scan photos and convert documents to text, publish CD-ROMs and diskettes containing archival information, write databases, and so on. I manage several web sites.

ACE Academy

Low End Mac’s  The Lite Side

and the Mac Lab Report

Cardboard Planetarium Site

In January 1988 I published a computer program called 
"Moon Calendar" which generated moon phases on the now-obsolete Atari ST computer. This was published in STart magazine.

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Education related experience

I am a frequent attendee of professional development and training meetings and have conducted many of them as well. For example…

•attended workshops at the 2006 Computer Using Educators conference in Palm Springs, California (March 9-10, 2006) on the CA High Speed Network and animation using Flash.

•attended training on how to use the Spitzer Infrared Space Telescope in Pasadena, California, and returned there to learn to analyze the images obtained with the telescope

•attended a NASA training to become certified to check out moon rocks at my school (and did check out a set this year)

•been selected as a NASA Education Ambassador for the Education and Public Outreach office for the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST) mission. As a part of this project I will conduct staff development about the mission after being trained this summer

•participated in a National Science Foundation-funded research project to learn about using statistical analysis software in the physics classroom (monthly meetings)

•attended a meeting of the physics-teacher’s group PION (Physics In Our Neighborhood) and saw a presentation on the Physics of Music

•visited Sonoma State University to consult with the NASA Education and Public Outreach office for the GLAST mission on the content for a public planetarium show they are developing

•consulted with scientists at Stanford University on the development of planetarium software for use with new low-cost digital planetarium projectors

•attended a National Science Teachers Association convention in Philadelphia (and am now scheduled to present two sessions at this year’s convention in Atlanta, Georgia)

•conducted training for teachers at my school on developing interdisciplinary projects centered on astronomy and on using computer based sensor equipment in physical science

•presented a session on the development of our space academy at the Northern California Association of Physics Teachers conference in Berkeley, California

•presented an explanation of the space academy to the East Bay Business Education Alliance, the Deer Valley High School faculty, and to the Antioch Unified School District Curriculum Council

•attended several presentations at the Mt. Diablo Astronomical Society where professional astronomers discuss the state of current research in astronomy

•attended a meeting sponsored by the California Department of Education for managers of Specialized Secondary Grants (we were awarded one last year.)

•I am a member of the National Science Teachers’ Association and the Mt. Diablo Astronomical Society. I do not currently hold any offices but have been a New Member Mentor for the Mt. Diablo Astronomical Society in the recent past.

My long-term projects include the following.

•I maintain a teacher resource web site at www. This site collects resources for astronomy educators and posts links which are categorized by topic.

•I also maintain an extensive series of web sites for my department at including an assessment resource page, a page for the course catalog, information about the UC requirements in science, and guidelines for students to use in selecting courses for high school.


“Introductory Teacher Workshop,” online via Zoom, December 2022. Presented resources and activities for high school astronomy teachers.

NSTA Reno “Age of the Universe” and “Black Holes Suck, November 2019.

“How to Draw Moon Craters” CCC Library, June 2019.

SIRS Retirement Group presentation on EA materials, August 2015.

AANC ESPACE Academy presentation September 2007.

EPACE Academy," at the Northern California Regional SSP meeting at Deer Valley High School in Antioch, CA on October 27, 2005. I was the conference organizer.

"Space Probes in the Classroom," at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Arizona on May 11, 2005.

"The Electromagnetic Spectrum," a workshop on the E-M Spectrum and the CA Science Standards, Deer Valley High School, April 19. 2005.

"Spitzer Space Telescope Project," Stockton Astronomical Society, Stockton, California, February 2005.

"HOU, Standards, and UC" at the California Science Teachers' Association convention in San Jose in October 2004.

"Unified Model of Active Galactic Nuclei," Mt. Diablo Astronomical Society, Concord, CA September 2004.

" Building a Classroom Planetarium," National Science Teacher's Association, Atlanta, Georgia, December 2004 .

"Parallax in the Classroom," American Association of Physics Teachers conference in Sacramento, California, August 2, 2004.


“The Boy Who Skipped,” a novel based on certain things that happened to me in high school, available from Lulu. com. 

"Conceptual Astronomy 1 and 2" an introductory astronomy workbook, teacher's guide, and textbook, has been published by TeachingPoint since 2005. 

"A Night on Kitt Peak," published in Nightwatch, the Mt. Diablo Astronomical Society Newsletter, January 2005.

"Distribution of Slowly and Rapidly Decaying Novae in M31," co-authored with RBSE class of 2002, published in the 2004 edition of the RBSE Journal.

"Observing from the Red Planet" article was published by Sky and Telescope magazine in July of 1998.  This article shows how to use computer planetarium software to simulate the sky as seen from the surface of Mars.

"Moon Calendar," a computer program, in STart magazine in January 1988. This program generates calendars showing the phases of the moon over the course of a year.

I write a column about technology in science education which is published by the web site Low End Mac. Over 100 of my columns have been published over the past several years at and include topics such as product reviews, opinion pieces, how-to articles, and many others.

Other Astronomy-related experience

•Participated in the TLRBSE Teacher Observing Program at Kitt Peak National Observatory and the Sptizer Research Program for Teachers at Cal Tech's Spitzer Science Center. My students and I have used the Spitzer Space Telescope to image a distant blazar.

•Designed a small planetarium for Deer Valley High School.

•Click here to visit my Astronomy Photo Gallery.

•Along with students at Henry Clay High School in Lexington, Kentucky, built a portable planetarium and used it in presentations at elementary schools and middle schools in the Fayette County Public School System..

•Present member of the Mt. Diablo Astronomical Society, Walnut Creek, CA. I have made a number of presentations to the society including "How to Build a Sundial" and "Pre-Telescopic Astronomical Instruments."

•Participated in special astronomy-related training for teachers such as Space Camp for Teachers (Huntsville, Alabama), Astronomy for High School Teachers (sponsored by the University of Texas at Austin),training from NASA to check out lunar rock samples, Project Inspire (a radio monitoring project sponsored by NASA for high school students), the SEEDS project (Space exposed experiment developed for students) and others.

•As an active amateur astronomer, have observed a number of phenomena including the total eclipse of 1991 from Mazatlan, Mexico; annular eclipse of the sun in Georgia in 1986; the recent impact of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 on Jupiter; Comet Hyakutake, Comet Hale-Bopp, and many others.

•Conducted numerous workshops for teachers in astronomy, model rocketry, and space science for the Kentucky Department of Education's Space Education Program.
Conducted workshops for the Lexington Children's museum on "The changing seasons."

Awards and Honors

•Recipient of the Joe Disch award for contributions to astronomy education by the Mt. Diablo Astronomical Society in 2022.

I was selected as an Amgen Educator of the Year for 2007.  

I was selected for the AANC “Special Award” for Amateur astronomers in 2006. 

•I was selected as the Computer Educator of the Year for the California Computer Using Educators(CUE) organization in March 2006.

•I was selected as an observer for the Spitzer Space Telescope in October 2004. After making observations with the telescope in 2005, a second observation was been approved for 2006.

•I was selected as the Antioch Unified School District's Teacher of the Year for 2004-2005.

•In Fall 2004 I was selected as a NASA Education Ambassador representing the soon-to-be-launched GLAST mission.

•In 1991 I was awarded the Aerospace Educator of the Year award by the Kentucky Air Force Association.

•I was awarded a competitive fellowship from the University of Arizona in 1990 to complete my master's degree in Astronomy.

•I applied for and was accepted as a state representative for the Long Duration Exposure Facility mission sponsored by NASA in the late 1980's. Teachers were trained to grow and analyze tomato seeds which were carried on board the orbital facility to test for the effects of the space environment on the plants.

•I was accepted into the Teacher Leaders in Research Based Science education program two years ago and have been redesigning my curriculum based on the content provided in this course and workshop.

•I enrolled in the Hands On Universe course taught at the University of California, Berkeley and participated in a summer workshop for earth science educators there.


•Corteva grant to procure planetarium materials ($5000) in 2018 and another to get a digital telescope ($4000) in 2022

•Purchased a $60,000 Elumenati planetarium with support from Antioch Unified School district.

Specialized Secondary Program grant from the California Department of Education (for Robotics) ($200,000 over 3 years in (2014-2017) with Terry Palmer and Ray Kuntz.

PacTIN Pacific Coast Teacher Innovation Network ($30,000)

Specialized Secondary Program grant from the California Department of Education (For astronomy) ($250,000 over 3 years in 2002-2005)

SSP Demonstration Days grants (3 years, approximately $10,000 per year, total of $35,000)

TWO County Technology Academy Grant from the Contra Costa County Office of Education and the Dean and Margaret Lesher Foundation ($8000 each) 

East Bay Computer Using Educators for technology in my AP Physics class ($1000)

Grant written by my students for the Antioch Education Foundation. ($500)

Best Buy corporation local school grant ($2000)

Mt. Diablo Astronomical Society ($500)

In- kind support from Antioch Unified School District (Salary support for astronomy outreach)

• CTAG grant for Martian Constitution ($8000)

• Margaret Lesher Grant to build a planetarium out of cardboard ($4000)

© Jeff Adkins 2014