In 1961 he graduated from Princeton University. He taught English to adult speakers of other languages in Ecuador, Peru, Chile and the San Francisco Bay Area and taught Spanish in high school and to adults (including Peace Corps trainees) and at Vista College (now called Berkeley City College) in the Bay Area.
He is the author of ¡Espanol con impacto! (out of print). With Elizabeth Kuizenga Romijn he is co-author of TPR is More Than Commands – At All Levels and of the Live Action series of books in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian and (also with Kazue Fukuda and Mary Sisk Noguchi) Japanese. With Elizabeth Kuizenga Romijn, Larry Statan, Elizabeth Hanson-Smith and Robert Wachman, he created the CD-ROMs Live Action English Interactive and Live Action Spanish Interactive.
He is the co-author, together with Blaine Ray, of Fluency Through TPR Storytelling which is considered the “Green Bible” of the TPRS world (the cover of the book is green). At the time of writing, this classic work on the practical application of the TPRS methodology in the classroom has gone through five editions.
In 1989 he received the Excellence in Teaching Award presented by the California Council for Adult Education.
Contee and his wife of 40 years, Maggie, live in Berkeley and have a son, Michael, and a daughter, Christina.