Scholarship Winner Spotlight: Shop teacher Bryan Koppert
Bryan Koppert’s story will be a familiar one to Fine Woodworking readers, because in some ways it may echo their own. When he was a child, his grandfather gave him a valuable gift: a love of creating things with his hands. He still recalls the projects they made together—a keepsake box and a pencil holder. He went on to take shop class in junior high, building a small bench.
Then, as is often the case, high school classes and college prep pushed woodworking to the back burner. Bryan set his sights on becoming an engineer. But when his class schedule eased in senior year, he decided to take another woodworking class. When he did, a light bulb went off in his mind.
“I remember saying to my wood teacher, ‘Your job has to be awesome! How do I get it?’ He told me to attend Kent State University for a degree in technology education.”
Fast forward to today. Bryan has his dream job as a shop teacher. He says his time at Kent State prepared him well for the job of educator, but his woodworking education has been an ongoing quest.
He’s learned most of what he knows through taking classes, reading articles, watching videos, attending meetings of the Woodworkers of Central Ohio and SAPFM, and listening to podcasts. In short, he keeps learning every way he can. “I have also spent countless hours of trial and error working in the shop helping students, building my own projects, and learning and refining new skills and techniques.”
With every new skill he learns, Bryan’s thirst for woodworking knowledge only grows more intense. He hopes his time at Fine Woodworking Live will help him become an even better woodworker so that when he gets back to the classroom he can keep inspiring the next generation.