In the Spotlight: Jeff Kerscher
This week we caught up with ACE graduate Jeffrey Kerscher. After three years of teaching in inner-city Washington, DC and a year serving as a dean of a Catholic high school in Florida, Jeff has just taken a job as a blended learning manager and school culture consultant for Seton Education Partners at St. Therese Catholic Academy in Seattle, Washington.
Walk us down the path of how you became involved in Catholic schools and the Alliance for Catholic Education.
I became obsessed with the idea of the achievement and opportunity gap when, as a sophomore in college, I ran a mentoring organization for inner-city kids at Xavier. I saw how much it meant for both the kids and their families to have exposure to faith-based role models. As a product of Catholic education and the child of a Catholic educator, I knew that serving in ACE would enable me to fulfill my social justice oriented mission of closing the achievement gap while ensuring that a faith based option existed for the less fortunate. In my work now at St. Therese, our goal is to create and expand opportunities for disadvantaged children to receive an academically excellent, technologically advanced, and vibrantly Catholic education.
Why do you value Catholic schools? What drives you to get up every morning?
I value Catholic schools because they provide a community unlike any other – a community grounded in faith that provides students with the tools to become morally, spiritually, and intellectually excellent individuals eager to serve the common good. They have a transformative power and there is no place where that power is needed more than America's inner-city neighborhoods. Every morning I wake up determined to bring that opportunity to every kid and family that wants a better life. I serve them not because they are Catholic, but because I am Catholic.
Explain how ACE has played a role in forming you as a leader, teacher, and person.
ACE allowed me to dedicate my life to an issue that I feel passionate about while giving me the opportunity to grow professionally and spiritually in the process. It has ignited a passion to learn and a desire to always find a way to do more for students.
To see a video about the work of Seton Education Partners, click here.