East West

There are gifted teachers and effective mentors; few personify both traits like Bruce Charbonneau. Affectionately known as Charb, he has dedicated over 39 years to furthering students’ understanding in STEM principles such as Computer Science, Advanced Engineering Design, and Robotics. He is also the devoted founder & 14-year mentor of Team 1296. For the past 22 years, Charb’s involvement in FIRST has embodied the aspects of a Woodie Flowers Award winner by empowering students to have a greater future and seek their full potential. 

For almost four decades Charb has been instrumental to the students in the state of Texas. He won the 2016 Texas Teacher of the Year Award for Cyber Patriots, an after school STEM-based program that advocates strengthening cybersecurity skills. In addition to teaching CAD and programming, he organizes team training for electrical, mechanical, software, & tool safety skills that are crucial for our robotics season. Mentor Keith Buchanan commends Charb for his impeccable teaching ability, stating, “He has been very successful- four of his students are Google Fellows, three others attend MIT. My kids graduated from Baylor with electrical engineering degrees and because Bruce taught them, neither encountered anything computer science related that they didn’t already know.” 

“Mr. Charbonneau is relentless in his pursuit to make sure our robotics program is viable, competitive, and involved not only in FIRST, but also in our community & the success of our school,” says RHS Principal Dr. Courtney Gober. Charb mentored & founded two other FRC teams in Texas: Teams 138 in Lubbock & 218 in Highland Park. When Rockwall ISD built a second high school, Charb mentored our sister Team 3310. He was vital to the creation of RISD’s Rockin Robotics FLL team and their incredible success, inspiring our district’s establishment of 19 extracurricular elementary & middle school STEM programs. Teacher Mackenzie Parks states, “No one lives, breathes, nor sings the praises of FRC like Bruce Charbonneau.” 

Our team values the hard work & effort Charb has contributed, continually placing the team and RISD students first. He is a faithful presence at our facility, encouraging and supporting each of his students. Student Hannah says, “No matter the circumstance, Charb always has my back. As my teacher & mentor he’s never failed to impress me. He’s someone I will forever respect.” 

Charb is an exemplary award-winning teacher and irreplaceable mentor who is imperative to the success of our team. “Any of his principals will tell you that he is just a constant pursuer of excellence, that sums up Charbonneau,” says Dr. Gober. He is the epitome of a Woodie Flowers Award candidate, a remarkable and passionate communicator who encourages students to discover their individual potential.Through his teaching and mentorship, Bruce Charbonneau has empowered thousands of Texas students by laying the foundation for success through STEM education.