West Side’s new technology teacher for levels 1-8, Tom Burnworth, lives in Sylvania with his wife, Crystal, and two sons, Adam (18) and Jack (15). His background is in Construction Engineering and STEM Education. Tom is also the Executive Director and co-founder of Sylvania STEM Center, where you’ll find him most days of the week before and after school.
Tom said, “There is never a shortage of things that interest me. It's kind of a joke within my family. Whenever I find something new or want to create a new program they say ‘When are you going to have time for that?!’”
“Kids inspire me. Watching young people light up when they “get it”— that's the magic and the reason I do what I do. My dream is to one day open a Community STEAM Center in Sylvania to provide a place where all age groups would be able to do fun hands-on activities.”
Tom never set out to be a teacher. When he co-founded Sylvania STEM Center, he discovered that he really enjoyed working with kids. This has evolved over time from coaching STEM teams, to teaching STEM programming, to teaching STEM classes in schools. Now, Tom said, “I can’t think of anything I’d rather do!”
About his new position, Tom said “West Side is a great place to be. My role at Sylvania STEM Center has allowed me to work in many different schools. West Side is the only one that I choose to still do myself. I enjoy the kids and the culture here. The environment is collaborative and the staff truly respects the kids as people. I have seen first-hand the type of kids West Side ‘makes’ and I have been consistently impressed. WSM kids are polite, think for themselves, and are problem solvers; they are future leaders.”
Tom always tells his students to “Never be afraid to try. Sometimes we will fail and that's ok. The important thing is we keep trying.” A true engineer, he said this mentality of persistence is at the heart of everything he teaches the kids. Tom said he tries to "give students the confidence to accept that their first idea didn't work, but the second or third might."
* Fun facts: Tom has run a full marathon and used to race motorcycles!
West Side Montessori is an independent, accredited Montessori school educating children 13 months through 8th grade (preschool, kindergarten, elementary school and middle school). We are one of the leading private schools in Toledo, and the nation.