img-1380-550?v=1

Gearing up for back-to-school

Kirkwood School District teachers Byron Rogers and Kristin Davis have a style all their own that they share with students.

Imagine if you had a gearbox and could fill it with everything you need. Would you equip your gearbox with an amazing teacher? As we gear up to go back to school, we sat down at Gearhead Outfitters in West County Mall with two of Kirkwood School District's most influential teachers to discover who and what inspires them. Incredibly, the team at Gearhead was so inspired by these teachers' stories that store manager Matt Miller gifted each teacher with an entire outfit from head to toe. Teachers are equipping our students for their future, and Gearhead Outfitters is equipping our teachers with fresh new styles for the new year. That's how you create a community that is geared up for success.

Byron Rogers 

Art Teacher, Kirkwood High School 

Byron has been with Kirkwood Schools for six years. 

What is the best field trip that you have taken with your class? 

Our annual AP field trip. We visit several cathedrals in St. Louis and the St. Louis Art Museum. St. Francis Cathedral at SLU is one of my favorite stops. On a sunny day, the light filters in to create an array of beautiful colors. It's like a glimpse of heaven. All the students are in awe and take photos. 

What or who inspired you to be a teacher?

Sister Kathleen. She was my seventh-grade teacher at St Peter Claver Catholic School. She introduced me to Art and its power to change the mindset and perspective of your circumstances. I was an angry kid, and she taught me patience through Art by establishing mental focus, attention to detail, and opening my eyes to the beauty around us that we ignore every day. Art brought peace and calmness to my soul. Sister Kathleen taught me that Art has a voice; through it, I can express my thoughts, feelings, and ideas. I told her I wanted to be an art teacher and give back because I owe it to her and other youths who felt the same imprisoned emotions I experienced. I continue to make Sister Kathleen proud.

Is there a quote or saying that you live by?

Yes. "Be art." That is the name of the non-profit I founded. It means "be a unique creation." We all have gifts and a purpose for our lives, and we are designed to make an impact on others' lives. We must seek our divine destiny/ authenticity. For me, that's where true happiness resides.

What have your students taught you?

Besides Twitter and Tik Tok, my students have taught me to have confidence in myself. My students help give me wings to explore exhibition opportunities, post my work on social media, and embrace my style of creation. Their confidence inspired me to form my non-profit organization that seeks ways to create art experiences for underserved communities. Be Art empowers youth to use their gift to impact their world.

What is the most remarkable thing about Kirkwood High School?

The friendliness. During my first year, everyone was friendly, open, and supportive. Kirkwood has helped me seek opportunities to enhance my knowledge and find opportunities to learn new skills. I have received encouragement and confidence to push past my comfort zone by exploring teaching techniques and tools that positively impact our students.

What is the most rewarding part of teaching?

Seeing the impact you made in your students' lives. I had a student dealing with anxiety, and she told me that the projects we did in class helped her into adulthood to deal with her stress.

After teaching for over 20 years, seeing students come and support my art at venues and events is rewarding; Seeing past students bring their children and spouses to my art programs and talk about my impact on their lives. It's unbelievable to get commissions to do artwork for past students. It is truly a blessing to teach and have the opportunity to see the fruits of your labor. That's the motivation that keeps me going and inspires me to continue to do what I love.

Kristin Davis

Library Media Specialist, Robinson Elementary School 

2023-24 Robinson Elementary School Teacher of the Year

Kristin has been with Kirkwood Schools for seven years.

 

What is the best field trip that you have taken with your class? 

Battle of the Books by far. We practice for three-quarters of the year, and the kids work so hard. They read their books 3 to 5 times over the year to prepare; they know more about the books than I do! The team works is good to see. It also lets me have that closeness with a group of students that classroom teachers have.

What or who inspired you to be a teacher? 

I'm the oldest of four kids, so I've always been around kids. I was a film major, and education was not my first thought. But when it came down to thinking about what I would be most happy doing, there were always kids there every time. 

What have your students taught you? 

Acceptance and curiosity. They want to know everything, and they are open to everything. I learn from them to go in a different direction. If I veer off a little bit, it's okay. Some days they want to learn about mermaids, so let's learn about mermaids.

Is there a quote or saying that you live by? 

Yes. My mom instilled it in me. "Your priorities are what you make them." Focus on what you need to be focusing on at that moment. You have the choice of what you prioritize in your life. 

What is the most remarkable thing about Robinson Elementary School? 

I love the community. One thing about Kirkwood is that each school has its own culture and community, and they all work well together. I love the diversity of our students, family, and staff. 

What is the most interesting place that you have visited? 

My family visits Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina. We love it. We know what to do and where to eat. It's our happy place. It's not a touristy beach with crowds. 

What is the most rewarding part of teaching? 

Many people say it's a thankless job, not in Kirkwood but in general. I don't think that it is. Sometimes, it's a lot, but you get what you put into it. There are weeks when you might think, "Can I do this?" But then a kid says something, or you get an email from a parent. And you say, "I can do this." The rewards are right there in front of you. 

"Besides Twitter and Tik Tok, my students have taught me to have confidence in myself. My students help give me wings to explore exhibition opportunities, post my work on social media, and embrace my style of creation. Their confidence inspired me to form my non-profit organization that seeks ways to create art experiences for underserved communities. Be Art empowers youth to use their gift to impact their world."  Byron Rogers

Businesses Featured in this Article

Related Businesses

Community Services

Overland Park Farmers Market

Overland Park, KS

Huntington Learning Center

Tutoring

Huntington Learning Center

Broken Arrow, OK

Huntington Learning Centre is dedicated to providing individualized instruction on deficiencies identified through our...

Museums + Art Galleries

St. Louis Science Center

Saint Louis, MO

The Saint Louis Science Center combines experimentation, creativity and play to help people discover a passion for science...

See More

Related Articles

No Results