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About the Contributors

Dr. Jason Crean

A biology instructor and also a zoo consultant specializing in avian species management. Crean has been awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching by President Obama in 2009, the 2010 High School Science Teacher of the Year by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as awards from the National Science Teachers Association, the National Association of Biology Teachers, the Illinois Science Teachers Association, among others. He has authored several curricula, including the award-winning Zoo Genetics curriculum which is available free of charge at and author of the Harry Potter Biology curriculum.


Maribeth A. Coffey-Sears

Maribeth has a B.F.A. from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, an M.Ed. & Type 75 Certification in Curriculum and Development from National Louis University and has completed over 60 graduate hours towards the Doctoral and MFA degree in Education at Northern Illinois University. She proudly began her teaching career 23 years ago at Lyons Township High School and continues her work there currently. Through her varied career she has worked with a wide variety of students and has focused on teaching gifted methodologies in creativity. She has specifically focused on developing curriculum that is integrative of Flow Theory and The Evolving Self, by Mihaly Csikszentmihaly, University of Chicago Psychologist. She has been fortunate to have earned numerous teacher awards and recognition and stay active in many professional associations. The most important moment in teaching came when one of her students approached her and said, Ms. Coffey, I wish you could be my mom, because if you were, I know I could do anything in my life and succeed. She strives to instill that kind of confidence in every student that comes through her door. She believes that her classes are more than a classroom; they become a collaborative, creative family. In addition to teaching, she works as a mixed media sculptor, photographer and installation artist working out of Glen Ellyn, Illinois. She has shown her work both nationally and internationally. Her work has most recently been exhibited in the National Museum of Science in Italy and the Cultural Museum in Mexico. Upcoming shows are to include Argon National Labs and New York.


Jeff Grant

A Science Teacher at Downers Grove North High School and works his summers at the Morton Arboretum in the Plant Systematics Lab/Herbarium. He teaches Biology, Chemistry, AP Biology, and Anatomy/Physiology. He has received several science educator awards including most recently the Golden Apple Award. He is currently working on writing a book called An Illustrated Guide to Biology the Harry Potter Herbology curriculum.

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