Teacher from New Paltz wins $100,000 grand prize on Jeopardy!

Francois Barcomb, a high school physics teacher from New Paltz, won the JEOPARDY! Teachers Tournament today, claiming the $100,000 grand prize and a spot in the next Tournament of Champions.

Barcomb, who earned a B.S. in physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a M.S. and Ph.D in physics from SUNY Albany, credits his education with giving him the tools he needed to best the 14 other educators he faced in the Teachers Tournament.

“My students kept asking me if I was getting nervous,” said Barcomb. “What they don’t realize is that I had done a lot of highly rigorous and nerve-wracking things in my career, especially in the Navy and when I earned my Ph.D. Defending your thesis is very similar to answering random questions on TV.”


The $100,000 grand prize, which Barcomb described as “unreal,” will go in part to a college fund for his nine-year-old daughter.

“It is a lot of money, and to win it while being treated so well by the show made me feel very fortunate,” Barcomb said. “The Tournament of Champions will require a lot of luck and skill to play with some very experienced players. It will be an honor to represent the teachers at that tournament; I hope I do not let them down.”

Barcomb teaches at Hendrick Hudson High School in Montrose, New York.

Conor Quinn, a high school world history teacher from Albany, placed second and earned $50,000 while Sara DelVillano, a middle school instrumental music teacher from Lanham, Md., came in third and took home $25,000.