McDermed goes from Bird Keeper to Science Teacher


While working at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, McDermed had the chance to work with many animals, such as this 1.5 year old female Bongo.

Joseph Paoli, STAFF WRITER

   Science teacher Brandon McDermed begins his first year at Trinity teaching middle school science. His enthusiasm when teaching his students is clear to any who might ask one of his students what they think of him, such as with eighth grader Leticia Fernandez.

  “When I came to his class, he explained the labs so that we could easily complete them,” Fernandez said. “He always encourages us to work together also.”

  McDermed is new to the educational system.

  Born and raised in Kansas City, McDermed obtained his degree in animal science from the College of Agriculture at Kansas State University in 2001. Although originally attending college with the intention of becoming a veterinarian, he later decided to specialize in bird keeping. He later began work as a zookeeper at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

  “I was one of those kids who would always bring home animals like tadpoles and baby birds,” McDermed said.

  He stayed at Disney for 17 years. While the job suited him well initially, he began to have reservations about the impact irregular shifts had on family life.

  “As great as Animal Kingdom was to work for, at the end of the day they are still a theme park,” McDermed said. “I began to miss out on key moments [of my family life], like father-daughter dances.”

  McDermed’s wife was one of the primary factors responsible for his shift to education, which he began last year in the public school system at Ocala High School.

  “My wife, a behavioral optometrist, essentially slid me a list of the top five schools I should teach at, and Trinity was at the top,” McDermed said. “When I first started teaching, I didn’t think I would be accepted, but last year I checked the website again and saw that there was an opening for a middle school science teacher.”

  Besides animal care, McDermed enjoys classic cars, most notably 60s-era Ford Mustangs. He also has a passion for comics, especially Spider-Man, a hobby he acquired by coincidence.