Career and Technical Education teacher Bobby Bruce tests equipment in the lab at Carl Wunsche Sr. High School in readiness for the first day of school.
HOUSTON – August 16, 2017 – After 15 years working in the oil and gas industry, Bobby Bruce is trading project planning sessions and equipment field tests for faculty meetings and a chance to help inspire a new generation of energy industry professionals.
“There are so many different facets that the oil and gas industry entails,” said Bruce, who is joining Carl Wunsche Sr. High School as a full-time teacher in the oil and gas career pathway. “I’m excited to get to introduce students to these concepts and skills, both in the classroom and in the lab.”
Spring ISD is welcoming several new faces into the classroom this year through the District of Innovation plan, approved by the Board of Trustees in April. The designation, approved by the Texas Legislature in 2015, gives public school districts more flexibility in several areas, including teacher recruitment.
“It’s a valuable recruitment tool, especially with hard-to-fill areas,” said Spring ISD Career and Technical Education Director Cynthia Williams. “It’s helpful because we can go directly to industry, to people who are actually in the field, and recruit them into education.”
Bruce, a Marine Corps veteran, sees teaching as an opportunity to connect his previous experience as an engineering technologist with the needs of students. He began at Wunsche last year initially as a guest presenter, then as a long-term substitute.
“The kids are hungry, they want to learn,” Bruce said. “I did some of everything in research and development over the years. I know the feeling you get when you accomplish something, or solve a problem. That’s the same culture I want to bring here, not only for myself, but for students. I want them to have a sense of accomplishment every day when they leave here – ready to tackle a new endeavor every day.”
Felicia Tapley, meanwhile, who recently completed her degree in biological and physical sciences, will be entering the classroom as a teacher for the first time, having worked in sales for several years after high school before her love of science convinced her to become a certified pharmacy technician and go back to school. She joins the team at Dekaney High School to teach classes that include Principles of Health Science and Medical Terminology.
“It was a great opportunity. I didn’t want to pass it up,” Tapley said. “I might never have gone the route of teaching if I hadn’t had this opportunity. I’m excited because pharmacy is a passion for me, and I’ll get to share that with students.”
Williams is pleased to be offering the hands-on, real-world experiences that students are wanting. “Our kids come to school for programs like these,” she said.