Lead Mentor Opening/FRC 3959,Mech Tech/ North Alabama

Hello Everyone,
My name is Tim Sharp, I am the lead mentor for FRC Team 3959, Morgan County Mech Tech, located in Somerville, AL. I have been the lead mentor since the team was formed in the fall of 2011.
Next season (2021) will be my tenth as lead of 3959. After much prayer and discussion with my family I have decided that it will be my last. Mech Tech is going to need a new lead.

Normally I wouldn’t make the announcement public this far ahead of time, but my administration has graciously given me permission to publicize the opening on Delphi a year early in the hopes that my replacement could be found and brought on board to teach in the county and work with the team for a season before taking over. One of my biggest fears is that we will have to make the dreaded announcement that 3959 is closing up shop. Those are the most depressing posts of all time. I hope I can reach out to the Chief Delphi community to attract an energetic person who is eager to move Mech Tech forward and have them in place for a seamless transition.

Applicants will need to be willing to become certified to teach in Alabama. Administration is willing to work with us to find a teaching spot for the right applicant. There isn’t an officially posted “Robotics Sponsor” position at this time. The job would begin in the fall of 2020 with the applicant taking over the team after the 2021 season…

FRC activities will take place after school on the campus of Morgan County Tech Park in Somerville, AL.

We feel that Mech Tech has a lot to offer potential candidates.

  • There is a stipend associated with after school activities involving FRC.

  • We have a solid mentor base and great community support. I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to work with. Any new lead would be very well supported.

  • We have a longstanding relationship with NASA as a Marshall Space Flight Center House Team. This partnership provides a solid foundation of financial, mentor, fabrication, and material support.

  • We have strong financial support from our central office. The district administration provides the team with a yearly travel budget for a road regional in addition to other travel funds.

  • We have near perfect cooperation from our administrative, maintenance, and financial offices. Everyone I interact with during robot season bends over backwards to make things easy for us and help us to be successful. The employees and staff are truly proud of their Morgan County FRC team and are always eager to help in numerous ways. I am the envy of several local teams for my ability to pull purchase orders in minutes or get help from maintenance on short notice.

  • We live in a mentor rich environment. Redstone Arsenal and NASA Marshall Space Flight Center are in the county adjacent to us. Our feeder school communities serve as bedroom communities for many of the high tech industries in the area. Skilled help is readily available.

  • We have a dedicated full machine shop with a large classroom, and software lab.

**If you are interested in discussing the job or if you know someone who might be interested, please contact me here by PM for more information.


Tim Sharp
Lead Mentor
FIRST Team 3959
Pre-Engineering/Computer Science Instructor
Morgan County Tech Park
59 Eva Rd
Somerville, AL 35640

12 Likes

From browsing on The Blue Alliance, this seems like an awesome team with all the right resources in place for someone to join.

Tons of potential here given the fact that you have the funds, school support, and community/sponsor support to make a very strong FRC team.

Best of luck! Hope you folks find someone dedicated to take this role over.

2 Likes

In addition to bumping the thread, I’d also like to mention that we have an outstanding group of students on 3959. They are hard working and dedicated and truly try to improve every day. I couldn’t ask for a better group of young people to work with and I am extremely proud of each of them.

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4020 often crosses paths with 3959 since there are only so many regionals in the mid-south and we are close in pit location due to similar team numbers. We always admire your elegant and functional machines as well as the pit you’ve had for a while now. It would be very sad to see 3959 fold.

I wonder if there is another way to staff your program. It sounds like the objective is for the lead mentor to be a teacher at the school. Would it be possible for an existing teacher to simply be the school representative and have one or more external mentors take on the role of the lead mentor? The teacher could simply be present to allow the students to participate in a school activity (and collect the activity stipend), but anything resembling mentoring could be picked up by skilled volunteers. Finding someone willing and qualified to be lead mentor who does not have teaching credentials might be easier than finding someone checking both boxes.

It may be that this option has already been considered and there is no one at the school who is willing to be the school representative, even if no technical leadership of any kind is expected. However, I thought I’d toss this concept out there since we all can get caught up in our paradigms and miss seeing other approaches.

Best wishes for successful resolution in some form.

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We’ve considered that option and it’s definitely our plan B. It’s not what we consider ideal though. That’s why we’re starting the search a year ahead of time.

I didn’t mean to imply that if I don’t find someone 3959 will shut down. I’m sure we’ll find a way to keep going after I step back. We just want to find someone that loves FIRST and is eager to take on the challenge of moving the team forward rather than just “keeping the doors open”.

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