Vinny Chiaramonte teaches computer science at R. F. Bumpus middle school in Hoover.  He was recently named as the 2017 Milken Educator Award winner for Alabama.

Making this all the more amazing is that Chiramonte was a high school dropout in the ninth grade in Georgia.  He told, I felt like I didn’t have a place.  Felt like I didn’t have value.”

Vinny went on to get his GED and a B.S. in biblical studies from Toccoa Falls College in 2002 and a graduate degree from the University of Montevallo in 2011.  And when the stars aligned for him to become a teacher, it was his own experience that lead him to work in a middle school.  “This is often where students face tough choices,” he said, “and if I can keep someone on the right path, I want to.”

Chiaramonte joins 34 other Alabama educators who have received this recognition since 1998.

He joined the Bumpus staff in 2014 and uses what he refers to as a “living” curriculum that weaves in new technologies and out-or-the-box big ideas.  Reinventing his own computer science courses, lessons are built around guide and independent practice, student-led instruction, critical thinking, and real-life application with a writing component accompany all final projects.

His goal is to help students master foundational computer science skills through coding, computational thinking, sequencing and formulation.  He believes all student should become “solution-makers”: young minds that use critical-thinking skills to solve problems encountered in everyday life.

The award, often called the “Oscars of Teaching” comes with a $25,000 cash award.  Chiaramonte said he will use some of this to pay down student debt he acquired getting his graduate degree.

Vinny believes teachers have an awesome job.  “We have impact on students.  Many don’t seem to understand this.”

Our congratulations to Vinny.  Bless you for what you do and the young lives you touch.