Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Agriculture

May 13, 2013

New Purdue Extension educator off and running

Greensburg — On April 30, Jeff Hermesch taught his final class as a seventh grade science teacher as South Decatur Junior High School.

The following day, he hit the ground running as the newest extension educator with the Decatur County Purdue Extension Office.

The new Extension educator wasn’t due to finish his teaching contract until the end of the current school year, but petitioned the Decatur County Community Schools Board for early release.

“I made that request,” he explained, “because, as a new educator with the Extension office, I wanted time to prepare myself for the upcoming Decatur County Fair in July. That’s probably the biggest thing we work on.”

He added, “If the Board had required me to fulfill the remainder of my contract, that would’ve been fine, but I thank them for releasing me early. Now, I have more time to get ready and gain experience for our biggest event.”

Hermesch said he’s thrilled to continue working as an educator and glad that he could make a career change which allows him to remain “in the same realm.”

“For me,” he said, “the most important difference in this job and my job teaching at SDHS is that here, kids choose the projects that interest them.”

As a result, he added, his students with Purdue Extension will be intrinsically more interested in what they’re doing. “That will make it more interesting for me. In that way, this job will allow me to interact with youth on an entirely new level compared to teaching.”

Hermesch also looks forward to the various trips involved with his new position, as well as to the Extension Office’s yearly Summer Camp. He’ll also get to work with a much wider range of ages, including pre-kindergarteners all the way up to high school seniors.

“I still get to pursue my passion for teaching and for being a role model to the kids,” he said, “but this job offers quite a bit more variety. Everyday is going to be different, and I’m really looking forward to that.”

Hermesch added that his new position also pays significantly more money compared to teaching in the public school system.

“I’m certainly furthering my career with this opportunity,” he said. “I view it as another step in my career progression; it opens different positive opportunities for myself and my family.”

During his five years at SDHS, Hermesch earned his Master’s Degree in Education at Indiana Wesleyan University. The degree is required for the Extension educator job. Before that, Hermesch had worked straight out of college as an assistant groundskeeper for the Indianapolis Indians minor-league baseball team. His original undergraduate degree, he said, which he earned from Purdue University, is in turf science.

He eventually returned to school to earn his undergraduate degree in Education, which ultimately led to the job at SDHS.

Contact: Rob Cox 812-663-3111 x7011

 

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