-- Calera High School engineering teacher Brian Copes, who was , is joining Alabaster City Schools to help the district develop a manufacturing and engineering program.
The Alabaster Board of Education at its meeting Monday evening approved the hiring of Copes as an engineering instructor. Copes will help develop the program that will be featured at the new Thompson High School when it comes online, expected to be in about three years.
"I will be a teacher and a coach that's working with other teachers," Copes said in an interview this morning. "I'll be teaching the engineering academy. I'll be working on setting up both the engineering and manufacturing academy for the new facility when it opens."
Alabaster Superintendent Wayne Vickers said Copes will be a great asset to the city system and its career academy programs for students.
"He's going assist, along with the other individuals in the academies, to help design our career academies in our high school," Vickers said in an interview today. "We believe getting quality people is the key to any successful school system. We believe he will be a difference-maker for the children in our school system."
Copes has been working as a teacher at Calera High School where he has developed an engineering program that teaches students to create prosthetic limbs out of spare car and bicycle parts. He has taken a group of students to Honduras with the prosthetic limbs to help people in 2012.
The class has also constructed utility vehicles with frames made from metal pipes as well as a hydroelectric power plant that uses an aluminum pontoon boat to also benefit people in Honduras. A group of six Calera High School students and one from Chelsea High School will from June 24 through July 4.
Part of his goal as a teacher is "exposing the students to community service, how to give up their time and talents to help people that don't have that ability," Copes said.
Recently his class by using a scissor-lift mechanism to help the individual seated to reach higher locations.
Copes said he is excited about the idea of forming the engineering academy for Alabaster City Schools. "That was encouraging. That was one of the things that attracted me to the program: the possibility of being on the ground floor and working with business and industry to develop a program that meets their needs," he said.
He will work continue working with the Gene Hass Foundation and the SME Education Foundation to develop the engineering academy at Alabaster City Schools. "I will be working with those two organizations and Alabama Power here locally as well as some of the local colleges and tech schools and manufacturers to develop this program and facility," Copes said.
Cena Davis, Alabaster's coordinator of curriculum and instruction, said Copes will continue the numerous service projects he developed at Calera High School. "He did not want to leave the classroom and the students," she said today.
"I look at it as world service. That was one of the big draws for me. What is it we can do to make a difference for our students in our community and allow our students to change the world?" she said.