Mr. Murmer joins Holy Trinity with more than 15 years of experience in teaching science and mathematics at the high school and collegiate level, including six years as a math teacher and department head at Rockledge High School. He has earned associate degrees in Engineering and Math/Science, as well as bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Chemistry/Mathematics with a minor in Physics from the University of New Mexico (UNM). He holds a Master of Arts in Math Education with a minor in Chemistry from UNM and is a Ph.D. candidate in Curriculum and Instruction at New Mexico State University. He has published numerous papers and presented on STEM education.
Education: Bachelor’s degrees in Chemistry/Mathematics, minor in Physics from University of New Mexico; Master of Arts in Math Education with minor in Chemistry from UNM; Ph.D. candidate in Curriculum and Instruction at New Mexico State University.
What is the most important life lesson you want a child to learn in your classroom?
I believe what I try to instill and envision as a veteran educator and former counselor for every student is to become a lifelong learner and problem solver. Technical or hard skills are necessary but what is undervalued is the appreciation, practice and value of soft skills (e.g. creative thinking, teamwork, decision-making, intra and inter-personal skills, communication, preparation, leadership and persistence). Not only these skills are essential in the academic and career arena but they are the foundation for fellowship and citizenship. As Einstein said, “"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” This quote perfectly captures the power of imagination, and the limitations of knowledge.
What motivated you to become a teacher?
My motivation in becoming a teacher is to continuously learn and remain inquisitive about how things work in nature and the world. The researcher never asks, why, instead, asks how. I believe successful teaching is the hallmark of every prosperous society, enterprise and discovering the unknown. Although it is cliché, I like to see students succeed and go further in their chosen academic and careers. Teachers are seen as leaders, mentors, advisors, coaches and counselors that help students excel in becoming an adult. From my experience, I think being a teacher allows me impart life lessons that students will never forget and puts me in a position to influence their decisions, behaviors, strengths, weaknesses and imaginations. Essentially, becoming a teacher are actors in the role of shaping and molding the next generation.
What are some of your interests and passions outside of the classroom?
To name a few, I enjoy exercising (weightlifting), reading, tutoring, travelling, avid trivia buff, playing the piano, spending time with my family, former amateur pilot and coaching sports. Now my most recent hobby is landscaping and chicken farming (13 chickens).
What experiences or people have had the most influence on you?
I have several experiences which have forged who I am while maintaining my identity. I served my country, travelled around the world, lived abroad, appreciated and learned from a variety of people from different backgrounds, cultures and experiences. But two that stand out are my grandfather and my former math teacher-mentor, Ms. Ellis. Regardless of the numerous degrees, awards, certifications, licensures I have obtained the years via differing careers, both individuals helped me become the person I am today.
How do you keep current with the subject areas you cover?
I have been tutoring middle, high school, college subjects for over 35-years such as mathematics, statistics, chemistry, college readiness skills, technical writing, SAT/ACT prep, MCAT, GRE, Math/Science AP-classes, etc. In addition, I am completing dissertation for my PhD at New Mexico State University in Curriculum and Instruction which emphasizes STEM Teaching Practices and Administration. I am also an active member (and presenter) for several education, mathematics and chemistry international honor and professional societies. I have advised teachers, administrators, business and community leaders as an advocate and supporter for STEM education for all students throughout my professional career.