MetroRESA is thrilled to share the accomplishments of 2 super star candidates. Kelly Feddersen and Will Dezern currently work at Wheeler High School and were recently awarded the MLK Humanitarian Award for the Wheeler Fresh Collaborative, a project they founded 2 years ago.
The Wheeler Fresh Collaborative began with an idea of using STEAM curriculum to meet real needs in the school by starting a food pantry to send home backpacks of food to students who need it. In the first year, the horticulture club partnered with the culinary department, marketing classes, and the drama club to put on a dinner theater that raised money and awareness for the program. Now in the second year, the initiative has expanded to include the entire school and is almost entirely student-led. In addition to hosting an annual dinner-theater, the group also organized a Marketplace as a showcase for many student organizations to come together, all with the same goal of raising awareness and funds for the Wheeler Fresh Collaborative.
Ms. Feddersen and Mr. Dezern are both GATAPP candidates in their first year of the program with MetroRESA. Kelly began her career in corporate marketing. After 12 years and a lot of travel, she decided to take some time off to find herself and her true passions. Through sports and coaching, she got to know the Principle and Athletic Director at Wheeler, and an opportunity opened for Ms. Feddersen to start a Sports Marketing program for the school. While this is a big undertaking, she has jumped right in and is already making a huge impact.
Mr. Dezern is from Orlando and graduated from the University of Florida with an Undergrad degree in Plant Science and a Masters in Agronomy. He spent his first years out of college doing research, publishing articles and then decided to go into teaching. He moved to Atlanta and is now in his second year as Wheeler’s Agricultural Science teacher and sponsor of the Horticulture Club. He loves plants and shares that passion with his students.
We are so proud of Mr. Dezern and Ms. Feddersen for the amazing work they are doing at Wheeler High School. Thank you both for leading your students well and for investing in making an impact in your school and community!
Q & A with Ms. Feddersen and Mr. Dezern
What is most rewarding about your work with the Wheeler Fresh Collaborative?
Will: Watching the students really take charge and lead things completely on their own is so rewarding. Students have grown into amazing leaders, and they have a vested interest. They are applying what they learn in the classroom and are putting on successful events in the community that really make a difference.
Kelly: That’s right. One student last week admitted the only reason she came to school that day is because she wanted to be there for the club after school to help with Wheeler Fresh. We see the students inspired to show up and work hard for something bigger than themselves even when it is not for a class grade.
What advice do you have for new teachers?
Kelly: Find the teachers you can trust and ask questions. There are no bad questions! Pick and choose what other teachers are doing that you can apply to your own classroom. Don’t be afraid to fail because not everything is going to work.
Feel free to contact us for any questions! Whether you have questions about Wheeler fresh, new teacher questions, or anything.
Will: Throw yourself into it. Get involved. I can see what roles I can play in the school because I tried a little bit of everything, so now I am at a place to know where I fit best since I tried out a lot of things. When you find something you want to do, find a community of other teachers who are passionate as well. Don’t be afraid to make a project even bigger because then it can impact even more students.
Stay tuned to the Metro RESA Facebook page for more information about the next Wheeler Fresh dinner theater and community night. We look forward to sharing the details and supporting their work.