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Goretti's teacher of the year has varied repertoire to teach

April 23, 2007|by MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN - With a teaching repertoire that includes chemistry, physical science, algebra and English, Linda Seibert said she sees some students up to three times a day in her classroom at St. Maria Goretti High School.

"It's a lot like teaching in a one-room school sometimes," she said.

Seibert recently was named Goretti Teacher of the Year for the Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore and was honored with a plaque at a March 28 dinner.

"I was nominated by the administration, my colleagues, as well as parents and students," Seibert said. "I was very pleased and surprised at the news."

Goretti Principal Christopher Siedor said Seibert brings a unique talent - the ability to spot students who are on the fence about their futures and whether they will be going to college.

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"She makes them feel they can succeed," Siedor said, noting that she also shows them by example since she, too, struggled to obtain a college education.

Seibert said she began teaching at Goretti in 1989, "when my younger daughter said she wanted to go here. I worked part time just to earn tuition credits for her."

Six years ago, Seibert returned to the faculty as a regular teacher.

Born and raised in Hagerstown, Seibert married early and had her first child at 20.

"I took some courses at Hagerstown Junior College," but only on an off-and-on basis, she said.

Later, as a single parent of three children, Seibert said she realized she had to get serious about her education and earned her undergraduate degree from Hood College in pre-law.

"I knew education can never be taken away from a person," Seibert said.

So she lived that philosophy, imparted it to her children and now does so to her students.

Her son, Wes Decker, works at Antietam Cable Television and broadcasts sports on the radio.

Daughter Lonna Seibert is coordinator of external affairs and professional development at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Her other daughter, Laurie Seibert, is studying in Silver Spring, Md., to become a funeral director.

The 207 students at Goretti come from different schools and religious backgrounds.

"Sometimes, they're scared and need a little extra help ... and I provide it," Seibert said.

In addition to the subjects she teaches, Seibert said she works hard to instill confidence in students who are unsure of themselves.

She said she often takes students aside when she feels they need extra attention.

"I notice things and I look into them more closely," she said.

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