St. Mary's High School bio Al Hartzell

I am Al Hartzell and I have been teaching the sciences for 19 years. The 2023-24 school year is my 18th year at St. Mary’s, and you will find that I am somewhat of a “Jack of all trades” when it comes to science. 

I am currently teaching several classes which will undoubtedly include contact with most students during their four year tenure. I teach biology, marine biology, ecology, environmental biology, physical science, and previously fundamentals of engineering. My love of the sciences spans over 50 years and began with my formative years in high school. 

I am a graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia (and yes I’m a Philly boy), where I earned my BS in biomedical engineering. After college, I entered the US Air Force and spent 30 years as an Aerospace Physiologist. This included training aircrew about the environmental hazards of flight (thus the teaching urge). This training included high altitude exposure in flight and in hypobaric chambers. Additional fun was had in hyperbaric chambers, spatial disorientation trainers, the centrifuge for high-G training, high and low altitude airdrop, and our reconnaissance mission. 

During this time, the Air Force sent me to get my master’s degree and I graduated from the University of Arizona in Tucson with a degree in Exercise Physiology. I have certifications as an Aerospace Physiologist through the Aerospace Physiology Society and as an Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine. I served for three years at the U.S. Air Force Academy Biology Department and I was an adjunct professor at the Uniformed Services School of Medicine. Eventually I became the senior officer within my career field and finally retired in 2004. Not ready to completely leave the Air Force, I worked in JROTC for one year. Then I moved back to Colorado Springs and worked at Pine Creek High School for one year and then moved over to St Mary’s High School after that. 

I am here because I love the kids and I love the sciences. As for my personal life, I am married, have two grown children and three grandchildren.  All of my family is still in the Philly area and during the fall, there will be much boasting (or crying) about the Philadelphia Eagles. I love to work out nearly every day. I bike, swim, lift, and do the elliptical. I used to run but accidents have ended that part for me. My hobbies include reading, movies, and music. So if you love science, sports, cheese steaks, cheesy movies, and the Beach Boys, then you will find it easy to get to know me. 



Environmental Science

Marine Biology