Spotlight on School Personnel: Beth Obermesik
May 01, 2018
For the past five years, Beth Obermesik has driven over an hour each morning to make it to work. It's the type of commute that many working professionals would refuse to accept, but for Beth, it's a small price to pay for what's in store for her when she reaches her destination.
"Detroit Enterprise Academy makes you want to be better," she said after being asked why she chooses to travel so far for work. "The leadership team gives us everything we need to be better. Until you've worked here, you don't fully understand how great it is."
Beth's passion for the Detroit Enterprise Academy community is made evident through the variety of roles she has at the school. She is a middle-school math teacher who, according to her peers, goes "above and beyond the call of duty on a daily basis." Beth serves as a co-chair of the school's math committee, a mentor teacher, and as the Accelerated Math leader for her school and other National Heritage Academies schools nearby. During the 2018-2019 school year, she will also teach sections of 5th grade to better prepare those students for the rigors of middle school.
Beth strongly believes that academic success can only be attained once teachers have established a good, trusting relationship with their students. "It's easy to teach a student who wants to learn," she said. "The hard part is building the relationship to get them to the point of wanting to learn." To create that relationship, Beth works tirelessly to show her students both sides of her personality, allowing them to understand that she is serious about their work but relaxed enough to fill her instruction with fun and humor.
That effort has paid off in multiple ways. Beth's students often show significant academic growth and personal growth throughout the year. When prompted for an example, Beth recalled a former student who came to her in the 8th grade. The student was extremely dependent of others and had previously been placed in special education classes. "As an 8th-grader going into high school, that is not a good thing," said Beth. She worked all year to help the student become more independent and self-sufficient. "She was well below grade level when she started with me," said Beth, "but when she tested in the spring she tested at the ninth-grade level and was no longer classified as a special education student. At the end of the day she had grown so much more than academically; she grew as a person a became so much more self-sufficient, and now she's in high school and doing incredibly well."
Beth's goals for the upcoming year will stay the same, even as she
works with more students. She fully expects all of her students to
show at least 200% growth by the end of the year. "I really want
make sure I help turn around the 5th grade and make them academically
prepared for middle school," she said. Down the road, though, she
envisions herself staying close to her passion and working as a math
specialist. "Math is my world," she said, smiling. "I
eat, sleep and breath math all the time."