Faculty Profile: Shane MacElhiney

Academic Dean and mathematics teacher Shane MacElhiney discusses his love for teaching in a recent faculty profile. Read more below.

Background and Education

I graduated from Yale University with a B.A. Economics, where I was also pre-med. I received my Master’s in Educational Leadership from The Klingenstein Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College.

Teaching Students

At WMS, I teach Algebra 1, Geometry, Ethics and AB Calculus. I have also helped design a number of Field Courses including: Economics Through the Ski Industry, Live Free or Die: Governing in New Hampshire and Community Matters: Culture in the North Country.

As a former colleague of mine once said, “I teach students, not subjects.”

I enjoy teaching a variety of subjects. I sometimes say that my ideal teaching schedule would be: a math course, a science course, an economics course and a history course.

Whenever I teach an economics class, I tell students that economics is much more than pre-business or pre-finance. It’s about asking weighty questions. How can a community organize itself to provide for their needs and wants? I still get goosebumps reading Adam Smith’s quotes about ‘the invisible hand’ guiding a pure market economy. The redistribution of wealth, the role of government…? I love that the questions are endless.

The Role of a Teacher

I sometimes use a chemistry-based metaphor to think about the role of a teacher. In chemistry, there are two broad categories of reactions called endothermic and exothermic reactions. Both typically require activation energy to happen. I like to think of teachers as the activation energy for student learning.

Favorite thing about WMS

The community.

Favorite place on campus

Wedding Hill (a hill near campus where one has a breathtaking view of the White Mountains) or any place I am having a great interaction with a student or colleague.

Fun Fact

Whenever I sing along to a song, I never know the lyrics, but I keep singing (and dancing!) anyway.

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