Lancaster’s Eric Mumm goes hands-on to win Teacher of the Year

Updated: Jun. 2, 2021 at 8:22 AM CDT
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LANCASTER, Wis. (WMTV) - Each year, five exceptional educators , selected out of the entire state, get the special recognition of Teacher of the Year. One of those winners is Lancaster High School Technology & Engineering teacher, Eric Mumm.

Mumm hangs his hat on taking hands-on learning to the next level. “I’m passionate engineering and woodworking and construction and those kind of things and I love to share that passion with students,” said Mumm.

He has been teaching engineering and technology for 9 years now and aims to make every lesson tangible. “Anywhere from building a deck, to building a storage shed, to insulating a garage, whatever it might be.”

For example, in this year’s building trades class, students designed and mounted a Cross Country State Champions sign near the football field complex. His civil engineering architecture students took on the task of designing commercial buildings for a fictitious scenario, where a plot of land is for sale by the school.

“They had to interview some stakeholders and did some surveys with some students to see what students would like to see in front of school. We have anything from a Culver’s to a student center, to a workout facility with a pool.”

His ability to deliver those lessons, while bonding with his students, is just an example of what helped Mumm earn the title of Teacher of the Year from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

“I was certainly surprised, didn’t see that coming. Honored, obviously,” Mumm told about the honor.

It’s a role he hopes to use to elevate other teachers, just as he’s been during his time as an educator and a student in Lancaster.

“The cool thing is, I teach at Lancaster High School, but that’s where I graduated high school from. Born and raised in Lancaster and went to UW Platteville. I got to replace the teacher that I really enjoyed having as a tech ed teacher and get to work with one that I had as well.”

The honor means even more to Mumm this year, considering the challenges the pandemic presented for him as an educator.

“Teachers have been asked to do things that we didn’t expect to do and that’s been uncomfortable, but I think moving forward if we focus on the positive things that have come from this I think we can take a big step forward in education,” told Mumm.

Despite juggling constant changes and managing both virtual and in-person learners, Mumm said this pandemic-year has put his passion into perspective. “There’s not a lot I don’t like about teaching, but I certainly like spending time with my students.”

After full days of teaching, Mumm is also working on getting his Master’s in Business Administration. He is a proud husband and father and loves doing pretty much anything outdoors in his spare time.

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