SARANAC LAKE - Joseph Merrihew, a technology teacher at Saranac Lake Middle School, was recently recognized by the New York State Technology Education and Engineering Association as one of its Regional Teachers of the Year.
Merrihew was nominated by colleague Josh Marlow and members of the Champlain Valley Technology Educators Association. Merrihew recently joined an elite group of technology education teachers from around the state who received their coveted awards at NYSTEEA's 51st annual conference last month at the Hudson Valley TEC SMART Center in Malta.
Merrihew has a long list of accomplishments at Saranac Lake Middle School. His first big challenge was to create all new courses for grades 6-8 that would integrate the Math and ELA Common Core with the state Technology Learning Standards. Merrihew embraced the opportunity to utilize the Engineering by Design curriculum in a fun and exciting way to teach students about the many challenges that we face as a society. For example, he has developed a unique method to introduce production and manufacturing to eighth-grade students. As the acting CEO, Merrihew creates the first prototype and then supervises as the students reverse engineer it to determine what parts must be manufactured, how to manufacture each part to specification, and ultimately organize a production line to make the toys. The class is responsible for the entire production process including the materials handling, inventory, cost analysis, time and motion studies, and quality control. Over the past three years the students have created more than 300 cars, tractor trailers, fire trucks, tugboats, helicopters and tractors, which were distributed to the elementary students in the district.
Saranac Lake Middle School teacher Joseph Merrihew, left, shakes hands with Bruce VanWeelden, Saranac Lake Middle School principal.
Merrihew extends his passion for teaching beyond the classroom as a certified snowboard instructor at Whiteface Mountain and as a coach for both the modified and varsity track Teams. He runs an afterschool middle school STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) club that meets once a week, and he volunteers for the grades 3-5 STEM club. Joseph also advises the YENGA Club, which attends a variety of trips from mountain hiking to downhill skiing and organizes fundraisers to ensure that every student can attend the trips.