Acera BlogStaff Spotlight

Staff Spotlight: Meet Renee Scherer

By September 21, 2023No Comments

Renee Scherer, Core Classroom Teacher

  • Taught Humanities to middle school students in both Massachusetts and California
  • Ph.D/ABD, University of Michigan
  • M.A., University of Michigan
  • Hobbies: I love cooking, reading and watching science fiction, and vegetable gardening.
  • Outdoor Activity: I try to hike every weekend! Outdoor learning is close to my heart; I’ve sponsored hiking clubs, led environmental learning groups, and have taken my middle schoolers on overnight  – and even weeklong! – backpacking trips.
  • Movie: My comfort movie is Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. I’ve always loved the quirkiness of the story and the wholehearted embrace of both humor and earnestness. I’ve led some really wonderful seminars using this film to encourage students think about how science fiction reflects on environmental issues.
If you could go anywhere for two weeks…

Yosemite! It’s the most beautiful place I’ve ever been in any season, and there is always more to enjoy and learn there.

As a teacher, Renee loves seeing her students revel in asking “why?” – an embrace of curiosity that makes her a wonderful fit for the inquiry-driven learning at Acera. In fact, it was her own “why?” moment that inspired her to become an educator.

“As a graduate student, I was co-teaching a university writing course for freshman honor students,” said Renee. “ Our very brilliant students had amazing insights in discussion, but struggled to move those ideas to paper. That gap in skills drove me to wonder ‘why?’ Why did these students seem to struggle with writing? Why did they seem to think they weren’t good writers? I loved helping my students learn not only how to bolster their skills, but to find their own confidence and curiosity in things that seemed intimidating.“

Following earning her advanced degrees at the University of Michigan, Renee served as a Humanities Teacher, English Specialist, and English Curriculum Designer for California schools including Khan Lab School and Tessellations: The Beneventi School, bringing a project-based learning approach to her classrooms.

“One of my students’ standout victories was the creation of an Oral History Archive in partnership with an organization called Downtown Streets Team,” said Renee (The mission of Downtown Streets is to build teams that restore dignity, inspire hope, and provide a pathway to recover from homelessness). “My students created a digital oral history archive of the life experiences of people experiencing housing insecurity, then presented the archive, their reflections on the project, and a series of photo portraits of participants at a community event that the students themselves planned.” 

At Acera, Renee is excited to ask and explore questions with her students.

“Acera has already been a warm and welcoming community. I’m inspired by the passion that I see and hear from adults and students, and by the intentionality and dedication of the staff. What a joy to be here!”