At the beginning of August, everything was set for Perry School’s Wolverine Workshop to be fully operational for the 2015-16 school year. The room’s construction was almost complete, and the technology ordered. The one thing missing was the faculty member.
The position was filled at the school board meeting on Aug. 13 when the board hired Scott Setzenfand, of Economy.
Unlike the equipment, which is a one time cost paid for by an innovation grant, the facilitator is a recurring cost the school district will cover. Superintendent Joe Mancini and Lincoln Assistant Principle John Sovich both commented that the school board understood the importance of the project.
The biggest obstacle in filling the position was finding somebody with a background in technology and teaching who has the desire to learn, as it’d be next to impossible to find somebody already familiar with all the workshop’s equipment.
Setzenfand has both a teaching and corporate background. He worked as an operational manager and wrote programs for corporate training. He also has experience teaching elementary math.
“I believe in a creative and collaborative approach,” he said while unpacking boxes in the Wolverine Workshop.
Setzenfand was particularly interested in the position because the scale of the makerspace is something few schools across the nation have done. He’s also excited to work for a forward-thinking and supportive school district.
He commented that his children, one in 4th grade and one in 7th, who attend Ambridge, wished they could use the workshop.
Setzenfeld’s responsibilities will include showing students how to use tools and equipment, collaborating with teachers with their lesson plans and most importantly, emphasizing safety.
“The biggest thing students will have to learn is that it’s okay to fail, learn from your mistakes, and move forward,” Setzenfeld said.
Out of all the technology, Setzenfeld is most excited about working with the 3d printer, a new experience for him and everyone else involved.
This week, teachers were introduced to the Workshop, and students will experience the equipment today on their first day of the school year.
“At the end of the day, kids will have their own design process,” Setzenfeld said. “I’m not going to tell them how to solve problems, but give them the tools to do it.”