Lower School science teacher Aaron Schomburg was honored on February 22 by the Professional Engineers Society of Mercer County as a 2020 STEM teacher of the year.
At the award ceremony, Head of School Paul Stellato had the honor of speaking about Mr. Schomburg, noting: “In his 28th year at Princeton Day School, Aaron has become our finest practitioner of that most famous expression of Robert Kennedy; to paraphrase: Some see the world as it is and ask why; some see the world as it could be and ask why not. In his own humble, modest way, Aaron Schomburg has created and explored regions of curriculum and student experience that did not exist until he breathed life into them. A courageous, generous collaborator, he has challenged his colleagues in all three school divisions and in every department to partner with him – and with one another – in pursuit of a singular, inspiring course of study.”
Mr. Stellato also praised Mr. Schomburg for his instrumental role in forwarding the School's commitment to the best in STEAM education, which has culminated over the last four years in an ambitious PreK-12 STEAM curriculum administered by a full-time STEAM coordinator, the state-of-the-art Wellemeyer STEAM Center in the Upper School and newly designed STEAM facilities in the Lower School and Middle School slated to debut this fall. “Aaron Schomburg was present at the creation and at every moment since,” Mr. Stellato observed.
Mr. Schomburg has also been the recipient of Princeton Day School’s highest honors for its faculty, the Whitlock and David C. Bogle Awards. In 2018, Aaron was awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) program. This prestigious award recognizes outstanding contributions of a teacher of science in New Jersey.
In his almost three decades at PDS, Mr. Schomburg has instilled a passion for lifelong learning in others while modeling that in his own life. He has presented countless STEAM related conferences, served as an advisory member to the boards of the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools and Princeton University’s Science Advisory Program, and has been a trustee of the Stony Brook Millstone Watershed. His writings on topics ranging from pond study to earthquakes to STEAM education have been featured in Independent School magazine, Science and Children Journal, Time and Discover magazines, the Astrophysical Journal and Scientific American.
"There is not a day that goes by that I don’t learn something," Mr. Schomburg shared. "I learn from my colleagues, from my students. Our motto is lifelong learning and its absolutely true. As faculty, you’re given independence. We speak often of a growth mindset. We’re all of the mind that you can always become more and better. And learning is why you’re here. It’s OK for teachers to say I’m still learning. We’re not just here to impart wisdom. We’re here to encourage, to wonder and to learn more."
Of Mr. Schomburg's impact on generations of learners, Mr. Stellato concluded, “Aaron has taken and made real that most solemn obligation: to awaken in our youngest students a sense of themselves and their unbounded possibilities through the study of science. In that way, every one of the thousands upon thousands of students with whom Aaron has worked carry with them the gifts of discovery and curiosity that he has given so freely.”
Image, from left to right: PDS faculty Erin Pelc, Carlos Cara and Jill Thomas with award recipient Aaron Schomburg, Head of Lower School Dr. Sandy Wang, Head of School Paul Stellato, and Maureen Stellato