Bondurant Middle School Teacher James Gary will receive the Kentucky Teacher Excellence Award from the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA). The award will be presented during the 2019 ITEEA Conference in Kansas City in March. Mr. Gary is the state’s middle school level winner.
In nominating Mr. Gary for the award, FCS Instructional Technology Coordinator Stella Pollard noted, “Each of the students at BMS have a variety of enrichment classes to select from. James is part of the enrichment team. He has over 175 students each and every day to rotate in and out of his class. These classes work on teaching students hands-on experiences with technology. James does a lot to tie in cross-curriculum instruction by bringing in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) engineering practices, math calculations, and writing. Abstract thinking is an everyday occurrence inside of his room.”
Mr. Gary has been teaching for nine years, eight of them at BMS. He teaches 6th grade Computer Science, 7th grade Design & Modeling and 8th grade Automation & Robotics. Teaching is his second career, and he brings a wealth of practical experience into his classroom to the benefit of his students!
Visitors of the FCS Facebook page may recall seeing him and his students in action recently, as they were featured in a recent Facebook post showing how his real-world, hands-on instructional methods engage middle schoolers: https://www.facebook.com/OneTeamFCS/videos/476368612848207/
Prior to becoming a teacher, Mr. Gary spent nearly 20 years in a variety of engineering and manufacturing positions in Ohio and Kentucky. These include as a tooling design engineer, engineering department manager, plant manager and ultimately vice president/business manager of an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) in Nelson County. In that role he managed the design of, and built inspection/handling equipment for, the automotive and appliance industries, and he ran armor plating production for the United States military.
“I decided to change careers in 2008, when I realized the part of my job I loved the most was focused in education - specifically training employees and working with schools,” he noted recently. “I volunteered for Junior Achievement, where I got to work directly with students, and I was part of a business consortium in Nelson County that worked with schools and local businesses to help develop curriculum that would benefit local manufacturers by teaching employability and technology skills to the future workforce. I decided to go into teaching so I could have more of an impact in that capacity.”
Besides his 20 years of work experience, Mr. Gary holds several degrees and certifications that contribute to his expertise and teaching abilities. These include degrees in Computer Aided Drafting & Design, Engineering Technology, Business/Marketing, and Business/Marketing Education. He also is certified to teach the middle school Project Lead the Way curriculum and the Computer Science Discovery curriculum.
The International Technology and Engineering Educators Association is an organization devoted to improving technology education and engineering through the use of technology, innovation, design, and engineering experiences at the K-12 school levels. It represents more than 35,000 technology educators throughout the world. Two other Kentucky teachers – one each for the elementary and high schools – also will be recognized by ITEEA this summer.