Jeff Webb - Worthington Academy
Whether they are behind on credits, or simply do not feel they fit in in a larger school setting, Worthington Academy offers a real second chance for students. The program also requires teachers to think innovatively to connect with students in a nontraditional way. As the program’s math teacher for the past three years, educator and former engineer Jeff Webb challenges not only students, but his colleagues, on a daily basis.
“Every adult who is here brings tremendous strengths and that makes us the program we are,” said Principal Adam Schirg. “Jeff, on our team, is the person who pushes us to always think differently.”
Rather than sit in a traditional classroom among a student body of up to 1,700 kids, there are roughly 100 total students at Worthington Academy, with an opportunity to really learn at a faster, or sometimes slower, pace.
“We want to give kids the opportunity that they can grow and be successful,” said Schirg, “and see a pathway to a high school graduation and then beyond.”
Webb, with his engineering background, is used to constant change and attacking problems from different angles. He has brought that to the table in his new career, and that includes doing more than just making sure his students receive a high school diploma.
“We have a mission statement,” he said, “a vision statement for the academy, and nowhere in there does it say, ‘get credits.’ Instead, I always emphasize the, ‘what are you leaving here with?”
Many of the students in the school come through the doors the first time behind and maybe overwhelmed. It’s part of Webb’s job to impress upon them that they have the capacity to achieve a lot.
“They tend to underestimate themselves, and they don’t need to,” he adds.
Webb gives his students confidence by making them see they have the capacity to build skills and knowledge to solve problems and add value to an employer.
“He’s always looking to build and grow,” stated Schirg, “and that applies to the students he serves. He’s always looking for ways of growing his practice, ways of growing his relationships with kids and ways he can push their development as people, as students, and prepare them for what their next challenge is going to be.”