Welcome back, Grigsbys


 The Grigsby family, left to right: Brian, Kathleen, Debbie, Hannah and Caroline.


When my sons attended Shasta High School, they were among the fortunate students who landed seats in science classes taught by the super-cool, always-inspirational Brian Grigsby. It was a sad day when Grigsby and his family moved away from Redding. Lucky for the north state, the Grigsbys have recently returned. Brian and I recently chatted and talked about where he’s been, what he’s done and what he has planned.
Q: Welcome home! What made you move back?
A:  Thanks Doni!  One of the main reasons was that I truly missed working with students and being in the classroom.  While I was working on programs and curriculum for teachers and students, I didn’t get a lot of direct instruction time to work with them.  Then I heard about an opportunity back here in Redding to get back into the high school classroom and jumped at the chance.  The slower pace of life, being closer to family, and being back in Northern California helped to make that decision that much easier.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about what you’ve done since you left Redding?
A:  Some people may not know that my family and I moved down to Phoenix, Ariz., so I could take a job at Arizona State University with the Mars Education Program.  While I was there, my responsibilities included coordinating the distance learning aspect of the program, developing curriculum, conducting workshops and working with student programs.  During that time, my travels for workshops took me to places like the tundra villages of Alaska, to the small rural towns of Arkansas, and even to some extreme locations like the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii.  On several occasions, my family was able to join me during my workshops, including a time I did a workshop at Space camp in Huntsville, Al.  As “nerdy” as that may sound, it was an amazing experience to say the least. We are all now space camp graduates!
In addition to my travels, I have been able to work with some amazing scientists who are on the cutting edge of science discovery, see the launch of the Phoenix Mars Lander, and catch glimpses into what the future holds for exploration to the Moon, Mars and beyond.  Students in the classroom today will be the ones who benefit from these endeavors, and I was able to see a window into that future.
Q: You’re back to teaching? Where and what subjects?
A:  Yes, I am teaching at Enterprise High School, teaching College Prep Biology, and College Prep Physical/Earth Science.
Q: What did you miss about Redding?
A:   The community.  The people and families who live in and around Redding are amazing to be around.  Not only that, the climate (although there have been times that Redding has surpassed Phoenix for summer heat), and being so close to nature.  I couldn’t think of a better place to raise a family.  My wife and I both have extended family in Redding, so being closer to family is a bonus.
Q: Have you maintained your NASA contacts? Will you be involved with the Planetarium?
A:  Most certainly.  Because of the advancements in videoconferencing technologies, I can perform many activities and programs from anywhere that has Internet access.  This allows me to keep in contact with the many people I have worked with over the years, and expand those relationships.  As far as the Planetarium, David Ewart (director of the planetarium) and I are working on ways I can come do shows at the planetarium.  While I was at ASU, we stayed in close contact and even did several videoconference events for students and teachers.  We have several ideas and plans in the works, so stay tuned! 🙂
Q: Anything else you’d like to share?
A:  I feel truly blessed to have had the experiences I have, and that I am able to come back home to not only share those experiences, but to invest the things I have learned into the students and community of the Redding area.
Brian Grigsby currently teaches high school science at Enterprise High School. He is the former Director of the NASA’s Mars Education and Outreach Program at Arizona State University. He received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Humboldt State University and a master’s degree in science education from Chico State University. Previous to his position at ASU, he was director of the Schreder Planetarium and taught high school science for seven years Shasta High School in Redding.

Doni Chamberlain

Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded A News Cafe in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain holds a Bachelor's Degree in journalism from CSU, Chico. She's an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She's been featured and quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, L.A. Times, Slate. Bloomberg News and on CNN, KQED and KPFA. She lives in Redding, California.

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