Class Act: math teacher Caroline Kerr (’01)
Community, culture, and a pet pig were just a few of the things that awaited new math teacher Caroline Kerr’s (‘01) return to Houston. Having lived in New England for a while, Kerr realized that she underestimated what Houston had to offer.
After graduating from St. John’s in 2001, Kerr attended Vanderbilt University as a math major, thinking she would ultimately go to medical school. During her first semester she began taking more math classes until she eventually earned her bachelor’s degree in mathematics. She later earned a master’s degree in mathematics at New York University.
“It’s very important to have an open mind and to just do what you love,” Kerr said.
During her junior and senior years of college, Kerr began working as a teacher’s assistant and realized that she truly had a passion for education.
“Being a St. John’s alum has influenced a lot of decisions in my life,” Kerr said, “It has informed what I have looked for in schools ever since I started teaching and has informed what I valued in a school.”
Kerr aims to teach at schools with a strong sense of community. So far, she has taught at a Quaker school in Philadelphia, a small all-girls school in New York, and St. Agnes Academy, a Catholic all-girls school in Houston.
When Kerr’s husband got a job offer in Houston, Kerr felt that going back was the “right move” because she had always hoped that she would return to St. John’s. On her first day back, Kerr went straight to the cornbread muffins that she had missed for 15 years.
“It was a surreal experience walking into my classroom,” Kerr said, “Ms. Nelson had been my eleventh grade teacher, and there were folders with her things in them and I realized, ‘Oh, That handwriting looks familiar.’ ”
Moving back to Houston also gave Kerr the opportunity to fulfill one of her childhood dreams of owning a pig and a dog. Kerr’s pig, Zelda, is affectionate and loves to snuggle and sleep on the couch next to her.
“My dog and Zelda are very sisterly to each other; they fight alot, but they love each other when they think nobody is watching,” Kerr said.
Kerr has “loved her first semester” teaching Advanced Precalculus, AP Statistics and calculus. While she enjoys glimpses of the past that remind her of her time as a student, Kerr also appreciates new aspects of the school, such as the rotating schedule.
“The schedule sets St. John’s apart from other schools. It gives gives students more freedom and a lot of ownership of their time,” Kerr said. “That’s a good way to prepare them for college.”