Accolades accumulate for Shorewood auto shop teacher

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Wesley Proudlove, Shoreline School District
Secondary Educator of the Year
Photo courtesy Shoreline Schools

By Luanne Brown

Wesley Proudlove has been the Auto Shop and Robotics Teacher at Shorewood High School for the past 11 years. First impressions are of a man with a mission. Always on the move (he clocks in over 35,000 steps most days), he walks with purpose and that purpose is to empower every one of his students to do their best.

He holds the same standards for himself, as evidenced by the accolades he’s recently received. Not only was he named the Shoreline School District’s Secondary Educator of the Year, he received the Shorewood PTSA Outstanding Teacher of the Year designation as well as a similar award from the Paul Allen School of Computer Science at the University of Washington.

Thanks to smart investing, Proudlove, who is originally from Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, was able to retire from a career in the car industry in his early 40’s. After three years of retirement, he volunteered to help keep the automotive shop at Shorewood open until they found a teacher who could take over from him. The rest, as they say — is history.

If you haven’t guessed by now, Proudlove is not your standard teacher. But then he’s not teaching a standard class either. “I teach creative thinking and problem solving. I tell students, ‘I don’t want you to be an auto mechanic. I want you to be a problem solver.’”

Wes Proudlove with students
Photo by Luanne Brown
The only time he shows his students how to do something is when he takes what he’s done apart and makes them redo it themselves.

One of Proudlove’s greatest joys is to see ‘a light go off’ in a student’s head.

“When a student knows something from physics and chemistry and puts it together on their own in my class — it’s a win.”

“Mr. Proudlove has a rare gift for teaching ‘hands on’ skills in the auto shop and in the robotics program. 
"Once students have seen a demonstration, he’s a master at empowering them to succeed independently and solve problems without teacher intervention. 
"Through questioning and coaching in this process, students build skills and knowledge very quickly,” said Bill Dunbar, the Principal at Shorewood High School.

Teaching kids to be independent and creative thinkers and teaching them to be ‘doers’ is important to Proudlove. “For both my auto shop class and our robotics program — the kids do everything. “We function as Grade 15. We have our own language and do things that other students can’t do,” Proudlove said.

Proudlove encouraged Carly Krantz, 17, a senior, to start a robotics team for girls. “He gives down-to-earth advice,” Krantz said. “He also does a lot for his students, like coming in on Saturday. He really puts forth a lot of effort for us and wants everything we do to be student run.”

Shawn Laris, 18, a senior who plans on going to culinary school, said, “Proudlove connects with every student — even those who aren’t motivated. He respects and trusts us. This gives us the confidence we need to reach our goals. As graduation approaches, I’m happy to be able to call Proudlove not just a teacher but a mentor, role model, and most of all friend.”

Proudlove is proud of his students' achievements
Photo courtesy Shoreline Schools

In addition to all that he does during the school day, Proudlove also helps with an after-school robotics team.

“Over the years, many, many students have expressed that Mr. Proudlove’s classes have caused them to fall in love with STEM learning, science and engineering,” Principal Dunbar said.

Proudlove’s dream is to make the Shoreline School District into a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) hub and is working with the district, corporations, and other schools to make this dream come true.

Proudlove has former students who have gone on to be Fulbright International Scholars, have built cars and robots for Tesla Motors, raced rally cars internationally, and built race cars for multi-million-dollar teams. 

“But the students I am most proud of are the ones who are proud to come in and announce that they bought a home or have entered a trade or just are happy and looking forward to the future.”

Proudlove said, “The award from Shoreline school district is really unexpected. I focus so much on my students that I really had no idea what a big thing this is. I have been getting congrats from all sorts of people in the district and beyond. Even my barista!”


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