Meet ADE Award Finalist: Brandon Lee

By Jenny Burns, Community Coordinator for Allen Distinguished Educators
February 1, 2016


Brandon Lee is among 16 finalists for the Allen Distinguished Educators (ADE) Award. Brandon teaches Kindergarten through 5th grade at High Tech Elementary in San Marcos, CA and he is leading and developing the Engineering Exploratory program through collaborative hands-on and project-based learning.

All children are creators. Brandon Lee’s teaching philosophy surrounds the notion that all children are natural scientists who want to tinker and understand the universe and their relationship to it. What better way to do that than through engineering? In his class, children will learn how to become not users of technology, but rather creators, solving real problems and creating real solutions. (They’ll also build things just because they’re really cool too).

A bay area native (Vamos Gigantes!), Brandon moved to Boston to attend Tufts University to work toward his B.A. in Child Development with a focus in education in engineering at the elementary level. This led to a senior project where he implemented a Lego robotics curriculum at the Horace Mann School for the Deaf in Boston. After graduating, he went on to receive his M.Ed. through the Boston Teacher Residency and certification in both Elementary Education and ESL education. Combining his passion for engineering education and language rights, he became the technology and engineering design teacher at Dever Elementary, a dual-language Spanish/English school in Boston. After 2 years of building suspension bridges, designing and programming robots, creating video games, and optimizing systems for manufacturing play-dough with the students, Brandon decided it was time to return to California and re-establish order in the universe. Currently, he works at High Tech Elementary, North County, a project-based learning school. There he works with students for up to twelve weeks to create drought claymation PSA’s, design cardboard arcades with digital interfaces, construct school-wide Rube Goldberg machines, or simply try to make a robot that’ll do your chores for you.

Brandon also loves rock climbing, baking, snowboarding, gelatin desserts, Neil deGrasse Tyson, sneaking take-out into the movie theatre, the maillard reaction, long lists, and the oxford comma.

Meet the other finalists for the $25,000 Allen Distinguished Educators Award.


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