Rodney Strawderman named James Rumsey 2011 teacher
The Administrative Council of James Rumsey Technical Institute has named Rodney S. Strawderman as the 2011 James Rumsey Teacher of the Year.
Strawderman has been teaching for 30 years and began his tenure as a student in the automotive program at James Rumsey.
A proponent of lifelong learning, he recently earned his bachelor’s degree. As a master certified technician, he currently holds 32 ASE certifications and his program is a certified NATEF program.
His program also received the Automotive Planning Council National Automotive Award of Excellence for West Virginia in 2006.
He has taught numerous SkillsUSA state and national winners. He has served as a Skills advisor for his entire tenure at James Rumsey. He has traveled to 28 state competitions, 19 national competitions and seven Leadership Contests at Cedar Lakes.
A lifelong resident of Morgan County, he has made numerous contributions to his community where he has provided auto training for independent garage owners and local dealerships.
In his younger years, he was a member of the Morgan County Jaycees and rebuilt a “cat” room for the Morgan County Humane Society.
He has served as a guest speaker at many career fairs at local schools and actively recruits for James Rumsey at college/career fairs.
He was instrumental in conducting training for dislocated workers and was able to help 18 women learn mechanical skills in order to retain their jobs at General Electric.
He and his students service the fleet of Berkeley County Sheriff Reserve vehicles.
Strawderman believes the best way to teach and promote respect is to “lead by example.” His goal is to teach his students the value of teamwork and depth of knowledge so they can be self-starters. He also embraces technology and utilizes a multitude of resources within his class and lab.
The two “Teacher of the Year” finalists are Bettina Messersmith and Amy Files. Messersmith is a National Board Certified teacher and was the 1999 James Rumsey “Teacher of the Year.” She taught Graphic Design for 20 years and is currently serving as the instructor for the career van. She holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree.
Amy Files is a third year teacher at James Rumsey. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Shepherd University and is currently working on a Master’s degree. She is the Child Development Specialist instructor and is secretary of the faculty senate and a member of the leadership team.