If you ask Mr. Niedermeyer how he spent his summer vacation, he will tell you, "in the classroom." The science teacher at STEM Middle at Baldwin Road Junior High School is using the summer to prepare for all of the exciting lessons he has planned for his students, including a trout farm, food science classes, gardening with a FarmBot and dehydrating apples to test their sugar content.
It's his passion for science and engineering that lead Ms. Gerbus to nominate him for Ohio's Teacher of the Year for District 9. The Ohio Department of Education selected Mr. Niedermeyer for the award after being impressed by the work he is doing to make an impact in his classroom and the lives of his students.
"As we read through his application, we were impressed by the detail and commitment Mr. Niedermeyer made to improving the experience for his students, his connections to the community, and his desire to continue your own life-long learning which is shown through the innovations he brings to your classroom," said Stephanie Dodd, State Board of Education 9th District. "Mr. Niedermeyer's ability to encourage deeper thinking is one that will have a lasting impact on his student's lives and the communities they live in."
Mr. Niedermeyer has been with RCS for four years, and he credits his background in architecture and engineering as he helps his students develop their problem solving skills. "I love the freedom I have to engage with kids and allow them to take a task and handle it on their own, and not rely on me or a script to solve it," he said.
Over the years, the students have hatched chickens, developed an aquaponics system, dehydrated jalapenos they grew in the greenhouse and programmed a FarmBot robot to work in the garden beds. "The FarmBot can water and weed our beds, and the students are responsible for coding the FarmBot," explains Mr. Niedermeyer.
This year, a grant from the ODE allowed Mr. Niedermeyer to build a trout farm, where his class will be sent eggs and they will raise and then release to trout to local waterways to restock the trout population. They are getting two kinds of trout: brown and rainbow.
Due to our pathway articulation work in the District and our Wellness initiatives, Mr. Niedermeyer will focus on elective science classes to support our agriculture pathway at the middle level. He looks forward to working with other teachers at RCS for collaboration. "Mr. Horn has a culinary background, and I have a science background, so together we can take food science to the next level," he said.
Mr. Niedermeyer moves on to the state round with 10 other teachers from across Ohio, which will be announced in the fall. Whoever is chosen as Ohio's Teacher of the Year will be in the running to be nominated for National Teacher of the Year, and visit the White House! Please congratulate Mr. Niedermeyer and wish him luck as he moves on!