Dr. Frank LaBanca is a teacher, educational researcher, and change agent. As the Director of the Center for 21st Century Skills at EDUCATION CONNECTION, he directs and manages the implementation of innovative Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math programs in high schools across Connecticut.
During his 16-year career in the classroom, Frank taught Biology and Applied Science Research at Stamford, Newtown, and Oxford High Schools. Dr. LaBanca has also taught undergrad courses in Biology and Grad Courses in Science Education Methods, Quantitative Analysis, and Educational Leadership. He regularly conducts workshops for teachers and students. Having taught nearly 2000 students, Frank’s most meaningful contribution was conducting extended open-inquiry authentic applied research with high school students. Over his tenure, 12 students were nationally recognized for their work by: the Siemens Westinghouse Competition, the Intel Science Talent Search, the National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, and the National Stockholm Junior Water Prize.
Frank has been recognized as a National Education Association Innovation Teacher; a GTE GIFT (Growth Initiatives For Teachers) Fellow; a RadioShack National Teacher for Excellence in Science, Math, and Technology; and the Teachers’ Insurance Plan Teacher of the Year. He was also recognized by Discovery as the National Outstanding Classroom Blogger for his blog “Applied Science Research” in 2006 and his professional blog “In Search of Scientific Creativity” was recognized as a global finalist in the Best Teacher Blog category of the Edublog Awards in 2011.
Before moving into education, Frank worked on the Human Genome Project in a molecular genetics laboratory. Frank’s current research focuses on the intersection of inquiry, creative thinking, and 21st-century skill acquisition in high school students. His research has been published in peer-reviewed research and education journals including: Gene, The American Biotechnology Laboratory, The Science Teacher, The American Biology, Teacher, The Journal of Biology and Microbiology Education, and LEARNing Landscapes. He has also presented his research at national research conferences. He regularly works with graduate students in both health sciences and education conducting research. He holds a BS in Biology, an M.S. in Science Education, and an Ed.D. in Instructional Leadership.
When Frank is not in the classroom he can often be found with his family at the water, hiking, sailing, kayaking, and exploring. He loves lighthouses and after sleeping in three (Faro De Arecibo, Puerto Rico; Ledge Light, New London, CT; Goose Rocks Light, North Haven, ME) and photographing many, built a 5-foot scale model of the Black Rock Light, Fayerweather Island, Seaside Park, Bridgeport, Conn., that was recently on display at the Norwalk Maritime Aquarium’s Festival of Lights.