Naperville North High School teacher Mark Williams takes the pens and pencils out of his students’ hands and replaces them with socket wrenches and screwdrivers. His creativity and ambition in his autoshop class earned him District 203’s October Teacher Innovator Award. When Office Max representatives showed up in Mark Williams’ auto shop with a brand new printer, camera, and a $400 Office Max gift card he felt honored.
“It was completely humbling. I had absolutely no idea. I had never had anything like that,” said Williams.
Williams wants his students to understand that if they take care of their car, their car will take care of them.
“Everyone is going to own a car at some point in their life,” said Williams. “If they get an opportunity to save money by learning how to do it themselves then by all means they should have that opportunity.”
Lisa Martyn nominated Williams for the award after she saw the impact he’s had on her son, Alex, who has been in Williams program for three years. She was not surprised at all that Williams was District 203’s Teacher Innovator for the month of October.
“Alex and I have been visiting colleges, about eight of them,” said Martyn. “We noticed that a lot of the things that he’s doing in auto class, they are doing in the school.”
Williams’ auto shop class extends further than an oil change and tire rotation. His students are in the process of developing an electric racecar.
“Mark has got this idea that we should have a Naperville North racing team [and] that we should actually race a car and the shop crew should be our kids and that they would learn how to get maximum performance each week out of the car,” Said principal at Naperville North High School, Kevin Pobst.
The electric car is possible thanks to a $140,000 grant given to Naperville North High School from Chrysler. Williams just wants the best effort out of each one of his students.
“Their goals, whatever their dreams and aspirations are going to be it’s my job to push them in that direction,” said Williams.
He says he isn’t trying to convince his students to work in the auto industry but he feels everyone should take pride in their vehicle. Williams is District 203’s first Teacher Innovator Award Winner for the school year and Naperville North’s first.
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