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By Marie Perry
Communications Director for the School District of Belleville 

Belleville Teacher Achieves Project Lead the Way (PLTW) "Master Teacher" Status


January 13, 2022

Photo courtesy of Marie Perry

Erik Farrar, 7-12 Business & Marketing Educator in the School District of Belleville, was recently awarded the distinguished title of "Master Teacher" by Project Lead the Way (PLTW). It comes as no real surprise to his Belleville learning community, as Erik's love of teaching shows in everything he does and he touches his students' lives beyond his classroom additionally as Belleville High School's DECA Advisor and LifeSmarts Advisor. PLTW saw this dedication and after serving as an active member of the PLTW network; teaching applicable course/units of relevant study in their entirety prior to applying for Master Teacher status; along with demonstrating that he possesses a full scope and breadth of knowledge in the corresponding PLTW curricula, Erik was awarded this great honor as a teacher.

Erik's passion for teaching developed early. He graduated from UW-Whitewater with a degree in Accounting, worked for a year in the field, and then went back to school and received his Master's Degree in Business Education from UW-Whitewater. However, while doing the coursework for his graduate studies, Erik secured a job at a local credit union and ascended the ladder quickly, becoming a Branch Manager in under 6 months. Erik stayed in that role for almost ten years, gaining valuable and teachable business skills, before feeling the desire to use his degree in the manner he had first intended.

Erik acknowledges, "I made the decision that I would be happier helping individuals learn. So began my teaching career. Deep down, I knew teaching was my path but it just took me a little while to act on it."

Once he finally found himself in the role as a Business Educator, Erik continued to be innovative – using his former career path in the field of business to provide real world experience and connections for his students in Belleville. Working with the PLTW curriculum was a natural progression, and he initially pursued the training to become a PLTW Teacher for Computer Science for Innovators and Makers. He put those new skills to use for a few years before receiving the recent good news that he has been awarded the title of a "PLTW Master Teacher."

But just as Erik offers a helping hand to his students wanting to learn in his PLTW courses, he credits his teaching colleague Ed Neumann as being a great mentor in the process of first becoming a PLTW teacher and now becoming a Master Teacher. Now these two Belleville teachers can continue to build a stronger PLTW program for their students – something needed as our world continues to need graduates with strong skills in the field of technology.

Now, as a Master Teacher, Erik dreams big for his students knowing that the PLTW curriculum enhances problem solving, communication skills, creative thinking, collaboration, and perseverance.

Erik says, "My wish is to have all students experience computer science." Beyond that, he wants to continue to serve as a role model and push himself as an educator. He hopes to use the knowledge he gained in becoming a Master Teacher to work to collaborate with other educators within PLTW and challenge himself to be a better teacher for his Belleville learning community. In this way, he hopes to show his students and his peers that you never really stop learning – even when you are teaching the class!


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