When David Schas was in his first year of community college, he received a call from a former track and field coach, asking him if he wanted to coach middle school track.

Schas said yes, and was given his first taste of working with kids. He went on to coach for two years.

"I think that is when I realized I wanted to be a teacher," he said.

Schas is a new science teacher at Brookings-Harbor High School. He will teach three classes of Physical Science, two classes of Marine Science, and one class of Biology.

BHHS Principal Larry Martindale said the hiring committee likes that Schas can teach both hard science (Chemistry and Physical Science) along with less demanding classes like Life Science.

"His certificate allows him to be very flexible with how we use him," Martindale said. "We were looking for somebody to teach multiple subjects."

The committee also liked Schas' personality.

We feel he connected really well with kids because of his nature and the way he communicates with us and with the kids in general," Martindale said. "He's approachable (and) laid back."

The committee also thinks he'll challenge the kids to be critical thinkers and problem solvers in the classroom.

"I think he will be a nice addition to the staff, and a real contributor to the professional learning groups," Martindale said.

However, Schas didn't always want to be an educator.

Growing up, he wanted to be a pilot. He was accepted to flight school but, at the end of his senior year of high school, realized he no longer had that goal.

After graduation, Schas attended Central Oregon Community College, still not knowing what he wanted to do. He enrolled in a few science courses, and enjoyed them.

After realizing education was his career path, Schas transferred to Oregon State University.

He earned his Associate of Art degree from Central Oregon Community College, a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Master in Science Education from Oregon State.

While at OSU, Schas continued to coach track at Corvallis High School.

During a couple of summerand winter breaks, Schas ran volunteer workout camps by himself for students in Prineville. Throughout camp, he made sure to incorporate some type of fun science lesson.

"I was just working to get kids learning during the summer," Schas said.

Schas also has been on the board of directors for Oregon Field Ornithologists, a branch of zoology that studies birds; secretary for the Friends of the Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex and a bird guide and surveyor for the East Cascades Audubon Society.

He likes science because "it's a human endeavor to understand the natural world," he said. "I love the human aspect of it, and I share that a lot with my students."

While endorsed to teach both middle and high school, Schas prefers high school students.

"High school is where kids start making decisions about who they are and where they are going in life," he said. "I think high school is where kids really decide 'This is what's best for me. This is what I'm going to go to college for.'"

At BHHS this year, his goals are to create a curriculum that's more student-centered and hands-on.

He decided to move to Brookings because "out of all the options, Brookings has the most for me in terms of personal development and experience," Schas said.

Schas has never lived on the on the coast, and there are a lot of species of animals in Curry County Schas has never seen.

His hobbies are cycling, hiking, camping, birding and playing disc golf andndash; being outdoors.

"There are lots of ways to make a positive impact for kids while sharing the love of science," he said. "I wanted a way to impact kids in a positive way. Science was my way in."