Jeremy, a native of Lunenburg, spent 10 years after graduating from the University of Massachusetts Amherst working as a carpenter, as well as running an art gallery and performance space. An English major, teaching was the furthest thing from his mind after leaving UMass.
While at UMass, Jeremy supervised stage hand crews and ran the lights and soundboard for performers such as Willie Nelson, productions like “Damn Yankees,” and speakers Allen Ginsberg and Ray Bradbury. In 1999, Jeremy began his post-undergraduate life by hitting the road for the Golden State.
“I come from a long line of teachers, but I didn’t want to become a teacher myself”
“After graduation, I went to California to be a carpenter,” Jeremy said. “California was about as far away as I could get from New England on $300 and a car with smoke coming out of the tailpipe.”
While in California, Jeremy built high-end homes in the Guerneville and Healdsburg area, honing skills and gaining knowledge that would come in handy years later when he starting teaching at vocational schools.
Teaching ran in Jeremy’s family. A graduate of Lunenburg High School, he is the son and grandson of teachers. His father Richard and mother Sandra and grandfather Robert were English teachers. Robert went on to become principal at Fitchburg High School. Richard taught for 40 years in vocational education, and was FCTS Electrical program teacher Todd Weed’s mentor at the Leominster Center for Technical Education.
“I come from a long line of teachers, but I didn’t want to become a teacher myself,” Jeremy said.
When Jeremy returned to Massachusetts in 2002, he operated an art gallery and performance space in Fitchburg that drew many high school students into creating and presenting art in many forms, and continued to work as a carpenter.
“I worked as a timber framer creating custom barns and homes,” he said. “I put together structures that didn’t have one nail in them.”
Jeremy eventually decided to go back to college to get his master’s degree in education. While in graduate school at UMass in 2008-2009, he became involved with the Bridges to the Future program that places student teachers in middle- and high school classrooms in Franklin and Hampshire counties. Graduate students involved in the program gain valuable classroom experience by teaching classes for an entire school year, while at the same time being mentored by the classroom teacher and UMass faculty and staff.
“When I got older, I felt as though I could be an effective educator and not just look at it as just a job. I felt I had something to give.”
“By the time I was approaching 30, I had learned enough about carpentry,” Jeremy said. “At 22 I didn’t have enough perspective to be a good teacher. When I got older, I felt as though I could be an effective educator and not just look at it as just a job. I felt I had something to give.”
Following graduation from the master’s program, Jeremy taught for five years at Smith Vocational and Agricultural School in Northampton. Although he followed in his father’s footsteps, Jeremy at first did not want to go into vocational education. Once he started teaching at Smith, he found out that a vocational education environment was the perfect place for him because of his experience as a carpenter.
“As a carpenter, I have a perspective as to what the study of English can do for vocational students,” Jeremy said. “I have seen firsthand the opportunities available to me in proportion to the experiences I have had and the ideas I can converse intelligently on. I know that I am judged first on how I speak and present myself. These skills are honed every day in the English classroom. We learn and wrestle with experiences we may never have, but come away with lessons learned. Students grow in their ability to build arguments based on facts, and then use arguments to advocate for their own interests. Through the process of observing our students excel at both academics and the trades. I’ve grown to love vocational education.”
Before he joined the FCTS faculty in the fall, Jeremy said he had his eye on the school for some time. A Greenfield resident, he felt like coming to FCTS was like going home.
““People here go out of their way to be helpful. This school has an engaged and excited student body…”
“Its friendly place,” Jeremy said. “People here go out of their way to be helpful. This school has an engaged and excited student body, and many excel both academically and in their chosen field. All of the staff have a deep love of learning, and their excitement and knowledge is conveyed every day in novel ways. The tireless faculty and overwhelming positivity and unity of purpose at Franklin County Tech are some of its biggest strengths and really set it apart.”
Besides his father Richard and mother Sandra, Jeremy has three sisters, Johanna, Jill and Jeanne. He and his wife Stacey Mimnaugh have two children, Finn, 4, and Cora, 2. In his spare time, Jeremy still likes to “build things,” as well as spend time with his wife and kids, run, garden, cook and take long bike rides.
Of his journey to academia, Jeremy said it was inevitable after all.
“It was a calling,” he explained. “I felt I could be good at it. This is what I was meant to do.”