Kerri Brumbaugh, Tamanend Middle School
Kerri Brumbaugh always knew she wanted to be a teacher. What she didn’t know – at least not in the beginning – was that her time helping her dad build things and her interest in taking things apart to see how they worked would lead her to a position that she loves and is truly passionate about.
Mrs. Brumbaugh is a technology education teacher at Tamanend Middle School, and our first staff member in the spotlight, an addition to our “Student Spotlight” series!
The path that Mrs. Brumbaugh took to teaching technology education didn’t start in the traditional way. “I didn’t take any woodshop or technology education classes in school,” she recalls.
Having developed an interest in tinkering as a child, (“I got a radio kit before it was cool and made my own AM/FM radio.”) she chose Millersville University for her undergraduate studies, knowing they had a technology education program.
“It wasn't always an easy road, because instructors would sometimes suggest that I might not do well in my class because I was a woman, but I persevered and really enjoyed the hands-on aspect of teaching and teaching technology,” she explained, “I worked hard to learn all the machines and tools, and I enjoyed so many aspects of the program.”
It was the support of a professor mentor that really set her on her path, “He really saw in me a talent that I didn’t necessarily knew I had and encouraged me.” That professor, Dr. Scott Warner, went on to encourage her to present at conferences and the two even co-authored an article for the magazine “The Technology Teacher.”
Her perseverance paid off, and in turn, she is inspiring her own students. “Kerri Brumbaugh is an integral part of the Tamanend community,” Tamanend Principal Dr. Brian Caughie said, “She does a phenomenal job of inspiring students in her engineering classes to think outside of the box. Outside of the classroom she goes above and beyond to make our school a better place.”
The mom of two little boys, Mrs. Brumbaugh is a volunteer fire fighter, a softball player, and has been an engaged member of Tamanend’s faculty for nearly 12 years. She serves the Tamanend community as co-advisor for the Southside STEM Club, co-advisor for the Tamanend yearbook, and as a member of the building’s critical event response team; in addition to six years serving as athletic director.
Getting involved is critical to her success as a teacher and role model for her students, “I think it’s important to build relationships with students outside the classroom,” she said, “It’s fun to be involved with the school community!”
It’s particularly important to her in her area of instruction, where she works to help students get excited about STEM, “I want to open their eyes to STEM related job opportunities.”
Mrs. Brumbaugh’s students have competed in STEM contests with great success. She’s had a team make it to state level competition in a STEM building challenge and it’s clear her efforts to build enthusiasm have paid off, “They created a video for a ‘What’s so Cool about Manufacturing’ contest, and won most creative video for the Philadelphia region!”
She also credits her colleagues for making Tamanend such an amazing place to teach, “Our school community is great,” she said. “Our staff really works to help our students and we really bond well together.”
It’s clear that Mrs. Brumbaugh’s enthusiasm for learning is making an impact on her students and encouraging them to solve problems and practice 21st century skills like creativity and critical thinking. When one of her students learned that she was missing a plug for a classroom miter box, he suggested that he could use a 3-D printer to “print” a replacement. “He printed me one on his day off from school!” she said.
These positive connections with her students are important to Mrs. Brumbaugh. When one of her students was struggling with coming to school, she reached out to him, “I wanted him to know he had someone to come to when he was at school, someone who would be there for him.”
The Central Bucks School District is proud of Kerri Brumbaugh’s dedication to her students, her teaching, and her school community. We’re all inspired by her!