Plum High teacher among newest crop of state certified computer science educators

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Plum High School math teacher Tamar McPherson recently joined an elite group of educators dedicated to the future of technology-based learning.

She is one of 38 teachers in the state to become certified in computer science grades 7-12 through the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The professional development opportunity was made possible through the state’s PAsmart initiative.

Created by Gov. Tom Wolf, PAsmart provides resources on educational training opportunities focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

“PDE is committed to providing certification pathways for educators interested in attaining their computer science certification,” said Kendall Alexander, department spokesperson.

McPherson said she sought the certification to better educate young learners and grow Plum’s computer science program.

“It’s important,” she said. “With everything being digitized, everything being related to computers somehow, I think that it’s important that some kids get experience. They may not all be software engineers, but they can work in information technology or information science or cyber security. There are a lot of different fields that they can get into.”

Math was something that came easy to McPherson.

“The running joke when I was a little kid was, ‘Just call her ‘Doctor’ and get it over with,’” she said. “It was something they said when I was 8 (years old).”

McPherson graduated from Pittsburgh’s Allderdice High School in 1994 and earned a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh in 1999.

She would go on to work for years as a engineer in research and development for a biomedical company that made materials for hip and knee implants before becoming a teacher.

High school Principal Joe Fishell said district is lucky to have McPherson on its roster.

“Mrs. McPherson is an amazing teacher who has worked tirelessly for her students.” Fishell said. “She saw an opportunity to lead her department in this area and was confident that she could accomplish great things. What an inspiration to her students and colleagues. I extend my greatest congratulations to her.”

McPherson joined the…