This school year, Windsor High School welcomed new teacher Kerry Rego to teach two sections of the business principles and management class to Vineyard Academy students, who follow a culinary and hospitality curriculum. The regular teacher of the class wanted to work part time, and Rego was chosen as his partner.
Rego is a social media consultant and educator based in Santa Rosa. Rego teaches individuals, businesses and nonprofit organizations how to use social media through her business, Kerry Rego Consulting. She is already familiar with the high school; last year, she taught a 10-week after-school social media workshop to the Arete Digital Media & Design Academy students.
“I love discovering answers with other people, sharing ideas and opening up someone’s eyes to something that never occurred to them before. I’m a very curious person, so curiosity is a big part of it, and there’s definitely an element of play,” Rego said about why she enjoys teaching. “Learning is a never-ending process and I cherish the experience of learning for myself and helping other people learn.”
The business principles and management class aims to prepare students for the real world and focuses on personal finance, business management, entrepreneurialism, some social media skills, as well as college and career readiness.
Like the focus area it belongs to, the class has an emphasis on tourism, Rego said.
“I have the opportunity to bring workplace skills and the soft skills that employers are looking for into the classroom, which not every teacher is able to do,” she said. “I’m also fusing a lot of technology and 21st century learning skills into my lessons because I know what employers need and what the next curve is. I’m preparing the kids for what they’re going to be doing in five or 10 years.”
Rego has been in business since 2006 and has spent the last seven years focusing on social media and teaching. In addition to working as a certified Career Technical Education teacher at WHS, Rego is a freelance professor at Sonoma State University, Santa Rosa Junior College and the Small Business Development Center.
Before Rego was ever hired for the business principles and management class, WHS Principal Marc Elin discovered her, and connected her with digital media teacher Paul Kinunen who hired her to host the after-school workshop.
“At WHS, we have a lot of CTE pathways, and when I heard Kerry speak I was taken by her passion, enthusiasm and expertise in the area of social media, and I immediately thought she could provide an excellent workshop opportunity for the students in the digital academy,” Elin said.
He said that Rego’s personality and way of conveying information make her a natural teacher, and the after-school workshops were a success.
When a position opened up for a second business principles and management teacher, Elin thought of Rego.
Elin said that WHS has a history of contracting with professionals in industry settings. “I have my eye on professionals who have the ability to come in and supplement or teach in their pathway, and then we guide them towards becoming a classroom teacher,” he said.
Elin said that he had been searching for someone specifically in the area of social media to bring on staff because every service sector has a component of social media.
“Students know technology and are aware of social media, but not the business aspect,” he said.
Elin said that the teaching shortage around the country is forcing schools to look at unique avenues to find quality individuals to teach, and schools should look at recruiting qualified industry professionals into teaching positions. Industry professionals can also be difficult to bring into permanent positions because teaching interrupts their professional day and is typically not in the same line of compensation. Although difficult to find, these professionals are very valuable, he said.
Elin said that student feedback he’s received so far about Rego’s class is that students “love her energy, creativity and feel encouraged on every topic.”
“I see her having the potential to offer us a freestanding social media class down the road,” Elin said.