Kerrie Seberg, a dual Biology and English major at Cornell, was interested in devoting her life to research and lab work.
However, after graduation, she set sail as an instructor in Cornell’s summer sailing youth camp. Through this experience and supervising a children’s center at a ski resort, Seberg uncovered the part of herself “totally obsessed with teaching kids.”
She returned to school, earning her master’s and teaching certificate at State University of New York (SUNY).
As she launched into her teaching career, Seberg quickly found that she gravitated towards students that needed a high level of support from their school family.
Then while she was teaching in Maryland, an online banner ad for Project L.I.F.T in Charlotte caught her eye.
Project L.I.F.T. is a Charlotte nonprofit devoted to helping schools that have historically struggled academically prepare their students for the future.
Seberg knew L.I.F.T was a perfect fit for her and immediately applied to every school in the program. Luckily for principal Anthony Calloway, Seberg found her home at Walter G. Byers Elementary.
“Kerrie is every principal’s dream for their students,” Calloway says. “I walk in each day not knowing what to expect from her, and that’s a good thing.”
In 2016, Walter G. Byers inducted its first group of National Junior Honor Society students, as a result of Seberg’s initiative.
Seberg had heard of other schools accolade programs and wondered what made Walter G. Byers scholars’ undeserving of the same academic recognition. She rushed into Calloway’s office, with notes written all over napkins. She would not accept “no” for an answer. “We have to do this,” she said. And they did.
So, what’s next? Seberg has no plans of becoming an administrator or moving up in the school system. She is content right where she is, in the classroom. She does have future goals of working with other teachers showing them how to make science fun.
A sign reading “Carolinas Medical Center: Walter G. Byers Campus” is hanging on the door of Seberg’s science classroom. Human bodies constructed out of cardboard are scattered about, and green file folders hold “medical records” for each “doctor” to jot their notes in.
Seberg’s scholars have entered their very own surgical center, where today they will discover the human body and how it functions. Seberg doesn’t just teach a curriculum, she builds one.
On breaks, she can be found dissecting flowers with day camp kids, or after school on the playground as a Heart & Sole coach for Walter G. Byers’ middle school girls.
Seberg views her time with each scholar as an opportunity as a chance to instill life skills.
She is a firm believer in gently guiding her scholars by posing questions to encourage self-teaching. She asks: “What are you going to do to make this work? How are you going to figure this out?”
A typical school day for Seberg doesn’t end with her rushing out the door to get on with the other areas of her life. Walter G. Byers is her life, and she plans for things to stay that way.