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Bethel home to WITEA Teacher of the Year

It’s no secret that John Stumpf is the Washington Industrial Technology Education Association's Teacher of the Year, but for about a month, it might as well have been.

“I told my students before I told anyone else,” he said. And he managed to keep it pretty quiet.

Until now.

Stumpf loves teaching engineering to students at Bethel High School. When we caught up with him, he was wrapping up his Principals of Engineering class. Students were working on projects that combined building and programming to create things like working traffic intersections and miniature elevators.

“The elevator must have a call button and three sets of lights to indicate where the elevator is located,” said Stumpf. “And it must return to the ground floor after a user-determined period of non-use.”

To accomplish this, Stumpf said students have access to whatever items they might need. “Motors, servos, motion sensors, light sensors, flashlights, and LEDs. We’ve got all kinds of stuff. And that’s the nice thing about CTE; we get all the stuff. And it opens up all the possibilities for kids.”

Stumpf began his teaching career at Cougar Mountain, before moving to Bethel High four years ago. And before he became the award-winning teacher that he is today, he was working in the building and construction industry.

“When my daughters were in middle school they started to struggle with math, and they’d come home and ask me for help. The next thing you know, they started bringing their friends over. And they said, ‘You’re really good at this. You’re better than our teacher!’ So I started thinking, and I went back to school, and now I’m a teacher. And I have my daughters to thank for all of it.”

John Stumpf was selected as WITEA's Teacher of the Year for his “dedication to teaching industrial technology and STEM education.”

“I love my job,” he said. “I tell my students that every day. It is the best job I’ve ever had.”
John Stumpf poses for a picture in his classroom