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The Best Job in the Universe?

February 13, 2019

It’s educating the students of Fenwick about life, says chief executive-turned-physics teacher Mr. Kleinhans.


CLICK HERE to watch the video! (Search for "Physics/Fenwick.")

Dave Kleinhans is a scientist who likes STEM, naturally. The Science Department Co-Chair at Fenwick High School recently welcomed a camera crew from WCIU-TV into his classroom, where he engaged his lab students in a lesson on circuitry applied to their smart phones.

In another life, before embarking on a career change, Mr. Kleinhans was an executive in the software industry, where he toiled after graduating from the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) with a bachelor’s degree in computer science engineering. He went on to law school, earning a JD in intellectual property law from the John Marshall Law School in Chicago.

Over a two-decade span, Kleinhans started up three companies: one that failed, and two that were successful. One of those firms was acquired by IBM (Cognos), netting a handsome payday for him and his business partner. Yet he insists that teaching and mentoring young people brings him far more satisfaction and joy “than any bonus check for selling a company or being a CEO” ever did.

"Other than being a Major League baseball player, this is the best job that exists in the universe," he proclaims.

While getting good grades is important, Kleinhans tells his high-achieving pupils that they stand to learn more from failures than successes. “Celebrate the miscues,” he encourages. “Because that’s where the real learning comes. That’s where the real friendships are.”

Reflecting on his own life experience, he tells them, chances are you won’t “remember the time you aced the calculus test. You [will] remember when you failed, you got up and you overcame.”

Beyond the science, his message to students is this: “I hope that they become great moral servants and have joy-filled lives.”

Click on the button below for the link to The U’s video:



His faculty peers at Fenwick voted Kleinhans as “Educator of the Year” for 2016-17.


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