Behind the apple: Jennifer Lea Roberts, Summerville High School
Jennifer Lea Roberts, 41, teaches math at Summerville High School. She also works with kids needing extra support for graduation.
She is married to a former North Charleston police officer, Jerry, and has a stepdaughter, Stacie, who is currently in grad school at USC. AT home, she is “mom” to two Chihuahuas – Dexter and Kessler.
Last year, she was a District Honor Teacher of the Year.
Her 20-year teaching career began in Haut Gap Middle School on John’s Island where she spent four years. She then came to DD2 and taught at Alston Middle School for seven years before coming to Summerville High School where she is beginning her 10th year of teaching.
She has taught social skills, social studies and math. She has a Master’s from The Citadel and is certified in elementary, middle and secondary education.
Growing up in Irmo, which is north of Columbia, she earned her Bachelor’s in elementary education at Clemson.
Why teaching? “I get to make a difference,” she says. “As a Christian it gives me an avenue to do God’s will.”
“Sometimes, you are the [only] caring adult in a child’s life.”
Roberts works with At Promise kids. Some are homeless, some are single parents, some have personal or family issues. She also gets kids who have transferred to SHS and she helps them get up to speed. She helps those who struggle with math. Most of her students are in the 10th grade.
She is also mentoring a new math teacher.
She finds it difficult to select a best experience…”there are so many,” she says.
There’s one, she finds special, a student who struggled for five and a half years to graduate, went to night school and is now employed with DD2.
Her worst? Well aside from the student who threatened to shoot her over a detention (and whose brother had brought a gun to school the year before) which was, she says, pretty scary, there aren’t many bad experiences.
When not in school, Roberts is active at St. George’s Episcopal Church, she sings on its Praise Team and is a member of the Daughters of the King religious order. Not surprising as both her parents, although now retired, are Episcopal priests.
She loves working out and does so five to six days a week incorporating Zumba, Yoga and Body Flow (a combination of Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates) into her routine. She is a big Clemson fan and she supports her daughter who runs with USC track.
“I love to read,” she says, “and enjoy best sellers, Patricia Cornwall, trilogies and series and I read what the kids are reading so I can keep up with them and understand them better.”
Both she and her husband work 50 to 60 hours a week. Her husband, although retired as a police officer, works for CPD as a civilian in the digital evidence unit in forensics.
At school she is an athletic academic advisor working with student athletes to arrange tutoring and help them keep up with their academics, supporting teachers and students alike.
Her future goals? She has worked with online courses at SHS for the past eight years and is an ardent supporter of a future DD2 online high school. “I would like to be a part of that.”