Effective Wednesday, Aug. 1, Josh Zalewski has been selected to step into the newly created position of MAPS Fab Lab Director.
Prior to joining MAPS, Zalewski taught for 15 years with the Unified School District of Antigo, holding positions of Tech Ed teacher, Department Chair, CT (Career and Tech Ed) Coordinator as well as coaching varsity hockey for a time.“I was ready for a change,” the 38-year-old Antigo native explains. “I had been doing the same thing in Antigo for several years and was ready for a new challenge. I am coming into the MAPS district with a clean slate and am excited to begin working on forming professional networking relationships with local businesses, with the help of a very supportive MAPS administrative team.”
In addition to 15 years of hands-on experience teaching technical education, Zalewski holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Technical Education and Engineering as well as CT Coordinator Licensure from UW-Stout, and a Masters Educational Leadership with principal licensure from Marian University. Zalewski continues to serve as a member of UW-Stout’s Advisory Board; certifying technical education teachers.
Josh first observed the position posted with MAPS late this past Spring and decided to pursue the opportunity.
The rest is history.
Last week, Zalewski held his first forum style meeting with local business owners and industry representatives at the MHS auditorium, with 17 local employers and organizations represented.
“Everyone has been very welcoming and supportive,” he said. “I feel a very positive and enthusiastic energy when I leave every meeting. I wasn’t sure what to expect during last week’s meeting being I’m new, the turnout and engagement was fantastic! I was very pleased with the outcome.”
In moving forward, Zalewski is excited to get started not only building the new 40×40-foot Fab Lab (Fabrication Laboratory) but promoting it and the benefits the new lab will provide to not only the district but the community as a whole.
A Fab Lab is defined as a facility which provides state of the art equipment, focusing on problem solving during the design process.
“I am excited for the future of a MAPS Fab Lab. I envision a facility everyone district-wide can be proud of and the community can get behind and be proud of as well,” he adds with a smile.
The 40’x40’ facility will feature a variety of state of the art equipment from laser engravers and 3D printers to CNC machine and equipment and design software.
“Our ultimate goal is to assure students have the skills necessary to be successful whether they plan to enter the work force or pursue post-secondary education. We want our students to be college and career ready,” Zalewski said.
At this point, the tentative goal is for the Fab Lab to be open by the second semester of the upcoming school year, or January of 2019.
While outfitting of the lab has yet to begin, Zalewski already has an array of short and long-term goals for the new facility, including; a continued focus on partnering with local business and industry to assure students are involved in an up to date rigorous and relevant curriculum to meet the needs of local employers, creating a multi-faceted advisory council comprised of students, local business owners and professionals and to market the Fab Lab to students district wide to advocate for student involvement.
“I’d like to thank the administration and the local community for this opportunity,” Zalewski adds in closing. “I’m ready to hit the ground running and I look forward to what the future holds for not only the new Fab Lab but for the MAPS CT program as a whole.”