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Empowering Innovation in Education: Welcoming Brett Kisker to Make48

We are thrilled to announce that Brett Kisker has joined our team at Make48, taking a pivotal role in spearheading the education verticals of the newly launched Make48 Innovation Course, designed to teach the core concepts for success in the Make48 environment as well as the Agilities© that individuals need to know to be considered Employment Empowered. In collaboration with The DeBruce Foundation, Brett will play a key role in advancing the impact of both organizations within high school and college settings. 

As the first Make48 Director of Education & Consultant for The DeBruce Foundation, Brett brings nearly two decades of leadership experience in PLTW, mathematics, and science classrooms. His most recent role as the Executive Director of the Northland CAPS program in Kansas City showcased his commitment to hands-on, engaging education that helps students develop the professional skills necessary in the workforce. Brett's journey began as a physics and math teacher in 2005, but his passion for education was truly ignited when he embraced innovative programs like Project Lead The Way (PLTW).

Headshot of man in Make48 vest
Brett Kisker; Make48 Director of Education & Consultant for The DeBruce Foundation

During his time in the classroom, Brett transformed traditional classrooms into dynamic spaces where students were actively involved in designing and creating, from robots to remote control cars. Recognizing the evolving learning preferences of students, he emphasizes the importance of practical, real-world applications to capture their interest and engagement. “I wanted to make sure that students knew that their education was leading toward a career, so we worked to make sure we were bringing in guest speakers and going on field trips to places like Burns & McDonnell as part of every course. It meant scrimping on supplies in exchange for experiences, but I knew that students needed to be able to meet professionals to understand the roles they play and the work environment they live in.” 

His dedication earned him recognition, including the title of PLTW National Engineering Teacher of the Year. “It was an honor to be recognized, but it was really the result of the people around me and the support and opportunities they offered. When KC STEM Alliance reached out, I always wanted to take advantage. It changed my approach to the classroom and benefited my students because it helped me get out and connect to people outside of my classroom. The professional community that jumped in to help allowed me to do things like host Women in STEM pizza parties that had 200 female students and STEM professionals socializing and talking about careers. Pizza sounds simple, but it humanized the career field for the teenage girls that attended and helped them understand that they didn’t have to change who they were in order to have a fulfilling personal and professional life.” 

Brett's philosophy centers on making STEM education not only technically rigorous but also hands-on, enjoyable, and authentic. In his new role at Make48, Brett will lead the final development, roll-out, and implementation of the Innovation Course curriculum, leveraging his extensive experience in project-based learning, maker spaces, and soft skill development. The course aims to equip students with the essential skills for success in the Make48 competition environment while fostering "Employment Empowered" individuals. 

As Brett delves into the responsibilities of his new position, he expresses excitement about contributing to the online curriculum, engaging with stakeholders, and fine-tuning the course content. He envisions the course not only preparing students for the 48-hour competition but also equipping them with skills applicable throughout their lives. 

Brett's enthusiasm extends to the upcoming Make48 competitions, where he anticipates witnessing the impact of the course on teams' collaboration, problem-solving, and presentation skills. His focus is on ensuring that every lesson within the curriculum leads to tangible activities, fostering active participation and skill development. “I'm already thinking ahead about additional content to capture at Make48 competitions and how to include it in the online course. I’m also excited about building awareness with our business and education partners to make Kansas City a model for the nation.” 

Moreover, Brett is dedicated to incorporating The DeBruce Foundation's Agilities© into the curriculum, emphasizing the importance of translating experiences into business language. The goal is to empower students with not only technical knowledge, but with the ability to articulate and market their skills effectively. “We aim to incorporate relevant skills and tools, such as those developed by The DeBruce Foundation, into the course. These attributes are expected to play a significant role in competitions, extending beyond the 48-hour competition and the course itself,” Brett emphasized. “The acquired skills will prove valuable in various aspects of life, be it school or your initial professional endeavors. The Agilities will not only contribute to success in the present Make48 competition but also serve as a compelling and enduring story for future endeavors and opportunities.”

Brett Kisker's arrival at Make48 marks an exciting chapter in our commitment to innovative education. With his wealth of experience, passion for hands-on learning, and dedication to empowering students, Brett is set to make a significant impact on the Make48 Innovation Course and the future of STEM education.

If you’d like to connect with Brett Kisker, you can find him on LinkedIn.

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