Teacher Tuesday: G2S’s Kerry Newberg.

October 13, 2020

Teacher Tuesday: G2S’s Kerry Newberg.

Teacher Tuesday is a presentation of Shelby State Bank, www.shelbystatebank.com.

By Kate Krieger, MCP Staff Writer.

CUSTER TOWNSHIP  – In her 18th year as a teacher, Gateway 2 Success Academy teacher, Kerry Newberg has had a wide-span of teaching jobs and she’s very happy to be able to teach in her home county.

Newberg, a 1997 graduate of Ludington High School, started her college career at Muskegon Community College where she also played basketball and volleyball. She then attended Central Michigan University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in 2002 and a master’s degree in 2009.=

She began her teaching career in Parkland, Fla. where she taught seventh and eighth grades for four years. She then returned to Mason County where she taught at Journey, an alternative high school operated jointly by Ludington Area Schools and Mason County Central. She then taught five years at Ludington’s O.J. DeJonge Middle School. She has been at G2S for four years, teaching high school English, and also working in credit recovery and as a reading specialist. 

With a love for the fast pace of teaching and building relationships with students, Newberg said she definitely has a love for teaching students in the higher grades.

“I love interacting with teenagers,” she said. “They have a natural curiosity in life, and I love to take that and their interests and find connections with this to their education. I also love the fast-paced environment teaching gives you. Every day is different and even the tough days are rewarding.”

Newberg said there are a lot of different situations with all her students and she would like to see more people understand that every child comes from a background that teachers don’t always know about and neither do those looking from the outside into the classrooms.

“I wish more people would understand the unique situations that more and more kids are coming from,” Newberg said. “Kids need so much more than curriculum now. They need people in their lives to help grow and foster their development and help with more individualized emotional and social needs.”

Newberg finds that a lot of times people don’t really understand her students and the environment at G2S. She, along with her co-workers continuously are educating the public about the school and the culture they have developed there.

“We are a public charter school but most think we are private. One thing I hear a lot of is all the things we do at our school are good for ‘those’ kids. Who are those kids?

“Shouldn’t all kids learn in a way that connects with their lives,” she asked. “Shouldn’t all kids be given the chance to take their strengths and develop a curriculum to fit their own needs? Why must the kids have to change to fit a 20- or 40-year old curriculum? Shouldn’t all kids have their emotional and physical needs met first before we teach them? These are things all kids need, and we are working hard every day to make learning relevant.”

G2S strives to accommodate each of their student’s individual needs and they work as a team to make sure each student’s voice is heard during the educational process. 

“We offer personalized learning that meets every student where they are,” Newberg said. “We learn by using a project-based learning approach. We partner with the community to bring unique opportunities to our kids. We use trauma informed care to make decisions daily to meet the social and emotional needs of our kids. 

“Our leader, Jamie Bandstra truly believes in all kids and works tirelessly to share this vision with our community. He supports the work we do by giving us the freedom to develop curriculum that is relevant and will entice kids to want to know more.  He hires staff that work as a team and we make all decisions collectively. When you walk in our doors every staff member interacts with kids. We make deep personal connections our priority. Our staff first and foremost cares about our kids first then we make good on our promise to offer personalized learning a reality for everyone. We have a leadership and resiliency program to help develop students into leaders and make healthy choices. Our new Wolfpack member, Toby is a trained therapy dog that is in our building every day. It is a joy to see the students interact with him.”

Outside of teaching full-time, Newberg still has time to spend time with family and to do some coaching as well.

“I also coach varsity volleyball and middle school track in Pentwater,” she said. “I coach my daughter, Chloe’s U6 soccer team, I waitress at Jamesport and coach 5:30 a.m. CrossFit on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays.” 

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