KRISTIN GERTON: Combining Content and Relationships

educatorA speedy state track champion in high school, eighth-grade math teacher Kristin Gerton has proved a quick study in the classroom, as well.

The Georgetown Middle School teacher of the year last year, Gerton surprised herself by how much she loved teaching when she entered the profession five years ago.

Surprised because teaching was not her first career choice.

Gerton attended college on a track scholarship and worked in admissions at a local college as her first job. During that time, she volunteered for a Junior Achievement event at Leestown Middle School and liked the classroom setting. So much so, she quit her job, was hired at Leestown and worked there for two years before she moved to Georgetown three years ago.

With her enthusiasm and ability to connect with the students, she made an immediate impact.

“I tell my students I’m 50 percent here to teach them content – and they will learn the subject,” she said. “But the other 50 percent is to make each of them a better person.”

Her method is simple – pay attention to students and encourage them to be themselves. A typical classroom exercise is having students tell their neighbors something they like about them.

“I’m good at establishing relationships and that’s what I do with the kids,” Gerton said. “I want them to show their personality and be who they are in real life in the classroom.”
Her success has not gone unnoticed at Georgetown.

“Kristin uses her formative assessment data to drive her instruction so the students master the content,” Principal Rhonda Schornick said. “Also, we stress building strong relationship and she has taken this to a whole other level.”

No wonder students call Gerton “Mama G.”

Along with serving on the faculty foundations and leadership teams, Gerton has started the school’s first movie club. But unlike many star athletes who enter teaching to coach, Gerton has focused on the classroom only – until this year. She is now the co-coach of the girls volleyball team. She will preach the same message to her players that she does in the classroom.

Said Gerton: “I tell them being positive and respectful of others will get them further than any content I can give them.”

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