Teaching with heart and passion


BY DEXTER MCCREE, Feature Writer

ST. PETERSBURG — It is quite a sight being in a classroom with Sharrell McInerney and watching how she opens up the minds of high school students. It is nothing short of amazing.

Sharrell McInerney Teacher - 2nd PicYou know the effectiveness of a teacher when their students’ eyes light up in the midst of an academic discussion, and they take on the look of awe! Well, I saw it happening, and I became fascinated by the students’ reactions.

Marine Science is not exactly the easiest subject to teach, but McInerney presented it to the class like she was preparing them for a trip to Disney World.

You should have seen the suspense in her student’s eyes as she narrated a video discussion on ocean zone’s varying pressure and their effects on the human body, which then took on a life of its own. Her knowledge of the subject matter is apparent, and her zeal for teaching is incredible.

“I just want them to know science because science is all around them. Our kids are smart, but they oftentimes don’t know how bright they are. If they struggle with a concept, it doesn’t mean that they are not able, it just means that there is a different way for them to understand it,” explained McInerney.

McInerney is the science academic coach and department head at Gibbs High School where she’s taught for four years in various assignments. Assistant Principal DeJuan Patrick refers to her as an educator who wants to develop the entire child.

“Ms. McInerney genuinely cares about her students,” said Patrick. “She doesn’t just look at science. She inspires growth in students like taking a young girl and helping her to become a mature woman. She’s passionate about education.”

Her enthusiasm for learning is rooted in her upbringing in the Bahamas. Born and raised in Nassau, she was challenged to explore, discover and diversify. In high school, she joined the academic groups, science and Spanish clubs.

For personal development, she signed up for sign language and joined Bible and debate teams. For extracurricular activities, McInerney joined the band as a majorette and the track team as a middle-level sprinter.

She graduated from the University of Tampa, earning a Bachelor of Science in Marine Science and Biology. She continued at the university, earning a master’s degree in teaching.

While in college, she took on leadership roles as a tour guide for the admissions office and a resident assistant in the dormitory. She is a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority and Tri-Beta Science fraternity. She also served on the university’s event planning board and as a writer for their literary magazine.

McInerney’s student progress and achievement drive her success. It is an agreement that she makes with the students. She promises them that they will be in a safe, caring and intellectual environment, and in return, the students vow to put forth extra effort, time and trust that she will help them overcome past failures.

To reach Dexter McCree, email dmccree@theweeklychallenger.com

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