Educator of the week

Wendy DeMers 
Edward Hynes Charter

Orleans Parish - New Orleans Public Schools
Favorite Teaching Subjects: Physical, Life, Earth and Environmental Science

A self-proclaimed New Orleanian, Ms. Wendy DeMers has 38 years of experience as an educator, thirty of which have been at Edward Hynes Charter School, a K-8th grade school within the New Orleans Public School system. Ms. DeMers began teaching early childhood development before moving onto middle school grades at Hynes Charter School 18 years ago. She has taught all grade levels within the middle school system and especially enjoys working with adolescents. Ms. DeMers draws from their experiences in teaching at both urban and rural schools and believes in the ever-changing culture of her school system – a culture she feels is for the better.

Ms. DeMers credits her son's pre-school as the motivation for pursuing a career in academia. In her words, “I didn't choose a career in education, it chose me." She recalls working at her son's church run pre-school while concurrently taking courses in Education at a local community college. The more courses she took, the more she started understanding the theory and logic behind teaching. As her understanding of the subject matter unfolded the more her passion for teaching developed. Ms. DeMers states that she "cannot imagine doing anything else," other than teaching or working within the field of education.

A great big THANK YOU goes out to Mrs. Wadsworth! She was Wendy's second grade teacher that left a lasting impression on her that she credits for inspiring her to become the teacher that she is today. Ms. DeMers vividly recalls Mrs. Wadsworth's "nice demeanor and patience" with the students. She has fond memories of the things that she learned at such a young age - many of which are not measureable through test scores, GPA or any other metrics that school systems used to quantify learning achievements. Aside from her positive experiences with Mrs. Wadsworth, Ms. DeMers remembers having a not-so pleasant experience with one of her middle school teachers that left a sour taste in her memory bank but motivated her to be a positive and caring teacher all around.

Ms. DeMers decided to get involved with STEM-based learning practices because she felt that STEM curriculum and programming coincides with her "philosophy of placing students in a position to problem-solve, create solutions and use diverse resources." In her opinion students need to learn in a hands-on, engaging environment where they can come in contact with the materials that they are working with and learning about it in an exploratory setting. She feels that this will enable them to develop as learners and become better problem-solvers. Ideally, she'd love to provide more opportunities for her students to see the relationship between all the facets of STEM, as they intertwine with each other and not necessarily individual disciplines.

Ms. DeMers is an avid cyclist and she is recognized for completing long distance charity bike rides or leisurely rides along the lake during the summer. She enjoys this hobby as a form of relaxation during her downtime to help her rejuvenate and reenergize. Aside from cycling, she also enjoys scuba diving during her adventurous trips and has done so at some of the most incredible dive sites across the world. And, she regularly volunteers during her spare time as a diver for special exhibits at the Aquarium of the Americas, which she's been doing since the early 1990s!

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