Education is Power
The Rise School of Dallas helps bring out educator’s passion
It took two-and-a-half years for Kari Zerbe to get a job at the Rise School of Dallas – months and months of phone calls to remind the director that she wanted the chance to teach at Rise.
But it seems Rise, a North Dallas preschool where the curriculum integrates children with learning delays and “typical learners,” is such a great place to work that teachers just don’t want to leave. So Zerbe was patient.
“I just knew Rise was where I wanted to be,” she said. “When you walk into a classroom, you can tell that the staff enjoys their job and truly wants to be right there.”
That was about a decade ago – and now Zerbe is director of Rise. She started her career there teaching a toddler class, and then serving as the school’s educational coordinator for four years. She was promoted to director in 2011.
Zerbe, who grew up in Dallas and graduated from Lake Highlands High School, said she has known since sixth grade that she wanted to teach.
“I had the most amazing teacher, Ms. Auer,” she said. “It was that year that I absolutely knew I would become a teacher, and I never wavered.”
During summers in Dallas, when Zerbe was on break from Virginia Tech, she volunteered with the Special Olympics, where she cultivated a passion for working with children who have learning disabilities.
The goal of Rise, which was founded in Dallas by John and Wendy Poston, whose son William has Down syndrome, is to prepare children with learning delays for the next educational setting – mainstream school or otherwise. Zerbe said working so closely with families that care about their child’s experience is what makes Rise so special.
“It is my most favorite part of my position – working with incoming families, with the hopes of making their child feel safe, secured, and loved so their educational experience can begin.” she said.
What makes it especially fun? Many of Rise’s graduates go on to attend Moss Haven Elementary School – Zerbe’s alma mater.
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