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Cari Nelson


Science Department Head, Science Teacher

I taught Biology for several years in the suburbs of Chicago and then went back to school for a Master’s Degree. For nearly 10 years, I worked as a perfusionist, where I operated a heart-lung machine during cardiac surgery in hospitals in Boston, MA, and Houston, TX. After that, I went back to teaching and came to Solebury School in 2006. Currently at Solebury, I teach Anatomy and Physiology, Medical Ethics, Microbiology, Forensics and Honors Environmental Science. I'm also the Chair of the Faculty and Staff Strategic Planning Committee and a member of the Faculty Mentoring Committee. At Solebury, I enjoy the teacher-student interaction. I still get a thank you after every class; they appreciate what resources are given to them.

If you were to visit my classroom, you would see students engaged in science. Biology is all about looking at the world around us, so I keep them busy with activities and experiments. Anatomy is taught from the perspective of medicine, so students are always bringing in experiences they have had or hear about. We do a lot of hands on work also from making models of the heart with clay to building each system on a 16-inch tall model. My favorite part of Anatomy comes at the end of the year after we have covered all of the body systems and we do a pig dissection. We get to see all of the systems together in one spot and see how they are all connected. Some students are a bit squeamish at the beginning, but once we get started, they are enthralled with the dissection.

Ultimately, I want students to come out of my classes appreciating science and having found some personal connections in the topics we covered throughout the year.

I imagine the future of the Science Department to continue to offer electives that our teachers are passionate about and develop more curriculum ties within the community to give our students hands-on experiences.

When I’m on weekend duty at school, I like to get to know some of the students that are not in my classes -- find out about their interests, how their classes are going. I also enjoy taking them off campus for new experiences.

In my downtime, I enjoy traveling with my family and whatever city we go to, we find a science museum, aquarium or zoo to check out! One of our favorite places to go back to is Boston. Also, I grew up in Chicago, so my heart is always with Chicago sports!

Recent Professional Development:

  • Vernier equipment training
  • Google Certified teacher
  • National Science Teacher Association Member
  • Attended a week long Assessment Training Seminar


Augustana College, B.S. and Secondary Education (Rock Island, Illinois)
Northeastern University, Masters of Cardiopulmonary Physiology (Boston, Massachusetts)

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