KISH: Tell us about you..
I am a 23-year educator and educational leader who is passionate about equity and excellence in education. As a first-generation college graduate, the granddaughter of a retired Math teacher and ER surgical nurse, the importance of education was instilled in me from my youth. I came from humble beginnings and soon came to understand that my education was the way to change my future. I stand on Nelson Mandela’s quote that Education is the most powerful weapon that we can use to change the world. This was the basis for opening my own school, Philmore Academy of Science & Arts in 2017. Being able to give black and brown children hope through providing a quality education and exposure to career opportunities in the fields of STEAM is my purpose. Through writing my book, the ABCs of Starting a School, I am able to assist others who have dreamed of owning a school to provide the guidance that I did not receive when initially opening my school.
KISH: What is your dream and how will accomplishing your dream benefit you and others?
Sherrie: My dream is to develop schools across the country and around the world that provide equity in education as well as exposure to the fields of Science and the Arts to minority students. Through providing a curriculum that recognizes and addresses different learners have different experiences, learning characteristics, and needs, it will in turn create an environment for all students to feel valued and engaged. By bringing more equity to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education will ensure that more diverse students will have access to STEM-related careers and aspirations. This huge feat cannot be achieved by one person, so by authoring my book, I am now able to assist and inspire people everywhere that have ever had dreams of starting a school.
KISH: Who or what inspired you to pursue this dream?
Sherrie: I was inspired by my past experiences while in the classroom as well as my environment growing up. Through my tenure in education, I experienced so many young girls who looked up to me as a female African American Math teacher and mentor. Many of which have gone on to grow up and become amazing young women from entrepreneurs to educators themselves because I believed in them and taught them to believe in themselves as well. I believe wholeheartedly, if they can believe it, they will achieve it. I then began to look at the number of minorities, both women and African Americans, who are underrepresented in the many fields of STEM. I knew that I had to help break the stigma of society that allowed us to feel like we could not become whatever we dreamed of. This passion gave birth to my dream to create a school of my own that would allow students to dream big.
KISH: What challenges have you encountered while pursuing your dream?
Sherrie: The challenges that I have encountered while pursuing my dream is finding grants and philanthropists to fund scholarship opportunities. I have so many students that fit the criteria for the ideal “Philmore” scholar that cannot afford to attend. This is heartbreaking for me because I know that when I opened the school, I dreamed of not having to turn anyone away that was looking for a school that provided academic excellence and exposure to the fields of STEM and the Arts.
KISH: Who or what inspired you to keep pushing regardless of the challenges you’ve encountered?
Sherrie: I am inspired by the many students that I have helped in the past who achieved greatness because I believed in them and learned to believe in themselves. I am also inspired by the students of Philmore Academy that I am blessed with the opportunity to develop into global leaders of excellence every day. Knowing that I am giving them the foundation and exposure to change the world is indescribable.
KISH: Please provide final thoughts/advice for others by finishing this sentence… dream.
Sherrie: Dream big! You are your biggest obstacle in life. The moment you begin to change your mindset and realize that nothing is impossible, you will soar beyond your wildest dreams. Your dream will change the world!