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Peter Goff

Science Department Chair, Master Teacher, Volleyball Coach - Appointed 1997

Graduate Degrees

  • M.S. Zoology, University of Vermont
  • ABD (PhD Evolutionary Biology), Vanderbilt University

Undergraduate Degree

  • B.S. in Biology, Hobart College

Activities in College

  • Swimming

Honors and Awards

  • Science Teacher of the Year, Vermont Academy of Science and Engineering, 2012
  • Best Student Paper, American Society of Zoologists annual meeting, Vancouver, BC, 1992

Best VCS Moment

Watching Sarah Mueller (’12) and Shana Wolfstein (’11) present their system dynamic model of Whirling Disease in trout to the faculty of the graduate program in Ecology at Montana State University, seven months after they had won VCS’s third straight State Championship in Volleyball.

Inspirational Quote

“UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing’s going to get better. It’s not.” —The Lorax, Dr. Seuss

Interests and Hobbies

Traveling with my wife, volleyball, and woodcarving.

Brief Biography

Growing up in the backwoods of southern Maine gave me a life-long love of the outdoors and started my fascination with animals. I spent most of my high school years in the swimming pool, on the local YMCA team. Throughout my academic career, I became more and more convinced that the strict compartmentalization that was the accepted standard throughout academia was not capable of producing naturalists. While some superb naturalists have come from that very system, I believe that it is the exception, not the rule, that scientists establish the personal connection with their local ecosystems that is the hallmark of a naturalist. At the same time, while swimming in college, and then coaching high school and YMCA swimming, I began to see how important it was for young student-athletes to have healthy competition in their lives, particularly in a co-ed environment. Having an opportunity to shape the science & athletics mission statements when the school first started was one of the main reasons I came to VCS. With the help of my wife, the VCS faculty, and every class & team I’ve been associated with, those mission statements have evolved into ideals that I believe are realistic, necessary, and a model for any small school

Scholarship. Community. Global Responsibility.

At Vermont Commons School, our goal is to engage students with their world. We achieve this through programs and a curriculum grounded in local and global involvement.