Woodbridge's Teacher of the Year stresses perseverance to students

By Scott Bleile

Heather Kerrick is starting her eighth year as a first grade teacher at Woodbridge Early Childcare Education Center. Even though she has not been in education for many years, she bring a sense of perseverance to her students. Kerrick and her husband and four children live in Greenwood.

"I was very surprised and honored when I found out that I had received Teacher of the Year for the district," said Kerrick. "I am a little overwhelmed by the whole experience."

Kerrick was nominated by her peers and parents. A district committee observed all the teachers nominated and she was chosen to represent the district in the state teacher of the teacher competition, which will be announced in October.

"I use the word perseverance all the time," Kerrick continued. "I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania. There were 80 kids in my graduating class. It was a factory town so everybody worked. Not many went off to attend college let alone stay long enough to get a degree. I got married like all the others and had my first daughter.

I wanted my children to be passionate about life and want to do the things they want to do. So, I needed to lead by example. I started back to school to become a teacher. My husband and I had a cattle farm and decided to move the herd to Greenwood. I had been studying for about a year, when we had a fire in the house which burned all my textbooks. Money was short, no family to help take care of the children. I had many obstacles in my way, but I stuck with it and got my degree from Wilmington University and went on to get my master's degree."

Kerrick carries her passion over into the classroom.

"I want my students to be passionate like I was with getting my college education. I proved that it can be done. You may come from a family that struggles, but you can do it. First grade is not too soon to realize what you may want to do in your life. My husband and father are hard working people and can build you anything. I got my determination from them. I discuss with my students not to give up. You an learn from your struggles, and to be a role model for others."

In her classroom is a quote she lives by. "If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you."

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