New Teacher Spotlight: Gretchen Roberts, Social Studies



Not only is this Gretchen Roberts new to Crossroads, this is also her first fall in St. Louis. She’s lived many places before; as a child, she split her time between Colorado with her mother and Germany — where she attended a bilingual school for 4th, 5th, and 9th grades — with her father.

She spent her first two years of college at Northern Arizona University, and graduated with a degree in political science from the University of New Hampshire. From there, Gretchen moved to Boston and worked for four years in marketing in the mutual fund industry.

Then, as she puts it, “I fell in love with my husband and moved to Illinois.” Living in Mt. Vernon — population 15,000 — Gretchen realized she would need to shift her career path. She went back to school for a second bachelor’s in education at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, and later a master’s in instructional strategy.

In Mt. Vernon, Gretchen taught for almost 20 years at Casey Middle School, where she worked with 7th and 8th graders in social studies, language arts, math, and the gifted and talented program.

She and her husband, Gordon, also welcomed two children during that time, daughter Taylor, now a junior at Truman State, and son Andrew, a senior at Clayton High.

It was anticipation of an empty nest next fall that spurred the family’s move to St. Louis. “I was ready for city life again and all the intellectual stimulation that a city brings,” Gretchen says.

Crossroads was the first place she applied to teach, and so far, Gretchen says it’s lived up to her hopes: “It’s been a very intellectually stimulating place to come to.”

Gretchen acknowledges that middle school can be an uncomfortable time of life for students. While she can’t change that, in her classroom, she strives to “make the discomfort more manageable,” so all students are at liberty to learn.

Though much has changed for Gretchen in the past few months, she takes comfort that no matter where she goes, “Middle school kids are middle school kids are middle school kids are middle school kids.”