Shaker High School graduate, Brian Ashline, says 10th grade was a pivotal year for him; it’s the year he fell in love with technology class. He also recalls walking the halls of Shaker asking himself, “What’s going to happen when I leave high school and I don’t take tech anymore?” Ashline said that same year he responded to his question with the simple answer of, “I just won’t ever leave.”
Fast forward to 2007, and Ashline was hired at Shaker High School. Now, nine years later, he has been chosen as Regional Teacher of the Year by the NYS Technology and Engineering Educator’s Association (NYSTEEA).
“Brian is setting the bar high for students,” said Eric Phillips, Supervisor of Career and Technical Education. “He’s the prototypical teacher for the 21st century.”
Phillips says many of Ashline’s students enter in ninth grade knowing very little about physics, programming and wiring. By the time they graduate, Phillips says not only have they acquired those skills, they’ve become independent learners.
“The feedback that we’re getting from students who attend Stanford, RPI, and a lot of premier schools, is that while every student is smart in physics, the students who come from Shaker understand how to put it all together and apply their knowledge in the real world,” he said. “I credit that to Brian and to the department and the program.”
During his time at Shaker so far, Ashline has designed and premiered the electronics and robotics course, a hands-on course that allows students to explore electronic theory, digital programming and sensor control. In 2008, Ashline also founded the Shaker Robotics Team, which competes in annual FIRST competitions statewide. Upon graduation, many of the robotics’ team members pursue a college degree in a STEM related field.
“You can see Brian has passion about technology education, teaching, and robotics,” said Phillips. “Whatever our students’ passions are, we have to find them and push them in that direction. Then work doesn’t become work anymore.”
Ashline will accept the Regional Teacher of the Year award April 21 at NYSTEEA’s annual conference. He says he is humbled by the recognition.
“It’s overwhelming to be honest,” said Ashline. “There are so many great teachers within our department and within our area; I’m very honored to have been selected. It’s nice to come into work every day with such great kids and great colleagues. Shaker technology teacher Garry Bottini was my idol when I was in high school, and I haven’t looked back. I love it.”