For some, retirement can be filled with relaxing mornings on a golf course, or sipping coffee and reading the paper. For the one and only Todd Throne, many days are spent engaging with students at STARBASE. In his words, “I am retired from teaching at a school, but not retired from wanting to teach and give back.” Todd was introduced to STARBASE three years ago when he brought his 4th grade students from L.H. Tanglen Elementary School in Hopkins. After retiring, Todd wanted to continue his own learning, and stay engaged with students and fellow teachers.

Hopkins schools have been lucky to know Todd from his early days, where he attended elementary through high school.  At age 16, Todd began his teaching career with coaching gymnastics, something he continues still, after 44 years. He is a proud University of Minnesota Gopher alumnus, and received his Masters’ in education from Mankato State, however teaching and learning are not Todd’s only passions! You may have seen him as a professional high-diver, as part of a performance team at Valley Fair, or playing keyboard in bands like Hot Pastrami around the Twin Cities! Todd is truly a multitalented renaissance man!

Following in the footsteps of his mother and aunt, Mr. Throne was a beloved teacher at L.H. Tanglen for 27 years. In his first year of teaching, Todd’s classroom was the first to receive a mounted TV, which was donated by a parent. This was the first piece of technology in his classroom and over the years, technology continued to trickle in a little at a time. Mr. Throne has always believed that hands-on, interactive lessons are best way for students to learn and found ways to bring hands-on learning into math lessons. He values STEM and believes it is important for students’ futures because it is the way our world is moving.

STARBASE is incredibly fortunate that Mr. Throne chooses to volunteer. His enthusiasm for students and STEM is a perfect fit for our classrooms, and his positive energy radiates throughout the building.

Whether the task is comparing decimals or helping clean up a mess after an experiment, Todd is up to the challenge! In his words, “I get to stay connected to the teaching profession even though I’m not actually doing the teaching. I love the atmosphere and positive messages. I love the small classroom numbers so each student gets one on one attention from the teacher. I like being in a learning environment and watching the enthusiasm of the kids as they experiment and learn and grasp new concepts in the STEM program.”

As a lifelong learner, Todd embodies our key skills of STEM, creativity, perseverance and teamwork every day. His advice for new STARBASE volunteers would be to “come with the expectation of seeing real learning and motivation of students in the classroom. Be ready and willing to jump right in with the kids and interact with them. After day one, you will see and learn something new about kids, STEM and yourself.”

Todd, you are a gift to us each day you come to STARBASE! Thank you for inspiring the students and teachers here at STARBASE, we hope to see you again soon!