VERDE VALLEY EDUCATOR OF THE WEEK: Sharon Ackerman
Sixth grade teacher United Christian School Camp Verde
CAMP VERDE – With 15 years as an educator, including five at Camp Verde’s United Christian School, Sharon Ackerman knew at age 15 that she wanted to work with children “in some capacity.”
Following high school, Ackerman worked at a pre-school/day care center before becoming a high school girls basketball coach, a position that “rekindled that desire to teach.”
After her 10-year high school reunion, Ackerman finally took the plunge and returned to college with a plan to complete her degree in Secondary Education.
Says Kathy Holden, principal at United Christian School, Ackerman is a “gifted and caring teacher.”
“She does amazing activities with them in the classroom and outside the classroom,” Holden says. “Students feel connected to learning and excel.”
Holden says she realized that Ackerman was special “when she came into my office in August with her field trip plan for sixth graders, ideas for class trips and fund-raising ideas, for the entire school year and has now accomplished them.”
What does Ackerman like best about teaching?
“I enjoy being able to encourage young minds to higher learning,” she says. “Watching them grasp a concept I am teaching is its own reward.”
Ackerman says she also likes being able to help her students “untangle the problems, questions and issues of their young lives and point them onto a healthy path of understanding.”
“I believe every student who comes to my classroom has the ability to learn. Understanding my students and finding what works for them, then using it to open up their natural desire to learn is what I love.
“I try hard to guide the students to find out answers instead of me just feeding their brains. I challenge them to discuss options and share opinions in a safe environment so that they learn that we may not always agree and we do not need to be offensive in sharing our opinions.”
If Ackerman was not a teacher, she says she would pursue a career in counseling.
“I have always been interested in the workings of the brain,” Ackerman says. “Child Development classes were always my favorite.”
“Learning is a life-long pursuit and we never run out of new things to learn; my goal each year is to instill that into my students. I want them to go on and learn everything they can while they pursue whatever it is they want to become.
“Also, I want them to understand that it only takes a little extra to go from ordinary to extraordinary in anything we do.”
DID YOU KNOW?
“I am known as the Field Trip Queen around campus, and we love to get outside our classroom for learning experiences. I am very active with my church missions group and have traveled to Costa Rica, Panama and Papua New Guinea. These experiences help me be a better teacher in truly knowing what it means to serve others, learning about other cultures and then being able to share that knowledge.”