If ever there was a Shelby High School graduate whose career evidenced receiving a strong educational foundation while at SHS it would be that of Karen Robertson ’64. While at SHS Karen served as class treasurer and member of Student Council during both her sophomore and senior years. She also was a member for two years each of the Whippet Tales staff, Class Executive Committee and the Pep Club.
She then emolled at Bowling Green State University where after three years she became certified to teach and began her teaching career in Vermilion, Ohio. Later she finished her bachelor’s degree at Ohio State University where she also earned a master’s degree in elementary education. While doing so she taught in Willard, commuting to Columbus two nights a week. With encouragement from an OSU professor, Karen secured a graduate assistantship at the University of Iowa where she earned a Ph.D. in 1984.
Afterward she taught for 10 years at the University of South Carolina- Spartanburg. Next she served as a department chairperson for three years at Metropolitan State College in Denver, Colorado. For the last 12 years she has served as a professor and department chairperson at Towson University in Towson, Maryland. In addition she has held offices in such organizations as the Southern Early Childhood Association, the Southern Association on Children Under Six, and Phi Delta Kappa, the professional education society. She also has completed education textbook reviews for leading publishers.
“What I learned in high school is the love of learning,” Karen observes, “and the importance it has played in my life to this day. I learned determination to complete the task and that, with perseverance, I can accomplish tasks that I do not always believe I can do. Education has allowed a very shy, introverted child/teenager to move out of that shell and be strong and confident in what she knows and can do. All of that had its beginnings in the classrooms and laboratories of Shelby High School. Whoever would have guessed?” She cites as teachers who particularly fueled her love ofleaming Wayne Potts, Dora Summer and Harryet Snyder.
Karen’s seven-year marriage to Jim Scheerer ’64 ended in 1974. Her daughter Heidi Faye Scheerer Tremblay earned a bachelor’s in textile chemistry at Clemson University. Her son Jay Whitney Scheerer earned a bachelor’s degree from Duke University and a master’s from Harvard University.
Karen’s interests include in-line skating, needlework and reading. She has participated annually in long-distance walks and runs in support of breast cancer awareness and research since 2001 when Heidi, then 30, was diagnosed with breast cancer. “Karen is a quiet and gentle woman with great internal fortitude who leads by example,” says a fellow alum. “Her Scarlet S photo caption, The Pure of Heart, holds true and has withstood the test of time. I’m honored to call Karen my friend.”
Karen’s Hall of Distinction nominator: Chuck Schiffer ’64. Her presenters: Heidi Scheerer Tremblay and Jay Whitney Scheerer.