Leesville Road High School welcomes James McFarland, the newest Engineering teacher for the 2019-2020 school year. This is McFarland’s sixth year in education, but first year working in Wake County. He spent his first five years in education in Durham County where he taught middle school students an elective course of engineering.
McFarland received a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology with a minor in Engineering Technology, and is currently a graduate student at NC State for STEM Education with a concentration in Engineering Technology. McFarland originally had a job working for control engineering for Amazon, yet due to a long, strenuous schedule, “it got tedious working 5, 12-hour shifts in a row,” said McFarland.
After making a difficult decision in his life, McFarland asked himself “is the money worth it or is my sanity worth it?” After lots of thought, McFarland realized that there “comes a time in your life where you have to make a decision,” and he looked into several different avenues for prospective jobs. Several members of McFarland’s family worked in education and pushed him to try it out.
He began teaching middle school students but quickly realized that was “not [his] forte,” said McFarland, so he began to try his luck with high schoolers. “”I felt I could make a greater impact on high schoolers because to them it was not a game, it was a choice to take this class,” he said.
After receiving a job in Durham County teaching high schoolers, he ended up staying there for five years.
“Coming here, I already inherited a great program,” and McFarland, who received flexibility with how he wanted to handle these Engineering classes. Coming into Leesville, McFarland had experience with solar cars and was advisor of the Robotics Club in Durham, so he quickly fell into a routine. Now that he is at LRHS, McFarland said, “It was just like moving parts: once one part is gone, another part just moves in and that was me.” He says that although the “foundation has already been laid, he plans to add a fresh twist,” and wants to keep the kids intrigued in all he plans to offer, create, and teach in the Engineering Program at Leesville.