Mr. Shearer, a long-time member of the counseling department, former administrator and current Theology teacher, has an interesting past and vibrant history. I had a chance to sit down with him and discuss his 19 years here at MSJ, and his time elsewhere.
Starting in High School, Mr. Shearer has learned the Xaverian way, and came to like it. He did not go to Mount Saint Joseph, but he went to a different Xaverian High School, Our Lady of Good Counsel, although all three of his boys attended the Mount following in the footsteps of a Xaverian education. Staying the course, he attended Georgetown University, a prestigious Catholic college. There he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Foreign Service, and a Masters degree in Ethics, and Foreign Policy. He also went to Harvard University, and earned a Master’s degree in Education. He then attended other colleges like Loyola, Columbia and Penn to earn degrees including advanced studies and counseling. Mr. Shearer is a well-qualified individual for the learning environment.
Mr. Shearer’s first job in education was as a teacher at St. Camillus School, in Silver Spring. He has held positions such as principal, superintendent, and counselor. In terms of his favorite, he loves teaching just as much as he loves his other positions that he has held at schools. During his time as a principal, he believed in the ideas of trust and respect. “I told my students that if we were going to hold a successful school environment, we need to be trusting in one another. That is why I made the students keep their lockers unlocked at all times. A community where there is stealing from one another, is not a good community.” During his various teaching stints, he taught many subjects including English, History, Theology, and others. “I love teaching as much as the next guy, but I believe in the kids. Teaching isn’t all about what you are teaching, but who you are teaching. The kids come first.”
“I told my students that if we were going to hold a successful school environment, we need to be trusting in one another. That is why I made the students keep their lockers unlocked at all times. A community where there is stealing from one another, is not a good community.”
Mr. Shearer teaches Theology to freshman and sophomores now. He says that his ministry is to serve wherever he is needed, and do what he is called upon to do. “If I am called upon to do something that will benefit the community, that is what I want to do.” He thinks that teaching again puts him in touch with his roots, and the addition of the iPads is a new challenge to get used to. He has a specific teaching style, and enforces it every day. As a student of Mr. Shearer’s, I can say that his teaching style is nothing I have ever seen. Every day, Mr. Shearer says to his students, “You are an intelligent and good man, prove me right today.”
On a personal note, Mr. Shearer has done many things in his life. He has met the Beatles, the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Saint Mother Teresa. He is married with 3 boys, all who graduated from MSJ, and appreciates the Xaverian way. He loves sports, and has even coached sports here at Mount Saint Joseph. He is a Washington sports fan, for all Washington teams.
Mr. Shearer has been at the Mount for 19 years, and he has seen it change a lot. He remembers the addition of the new buildings, like the Smith Center, Plevyak Field, the Library, and Founders Hall. One thing that he noticed that has stayed the same has been the teaching. “I believe there are caring and compassionate teachers in every room who care about the Xaverian way, and will help you throughout anything.” He believes that they want to form their students as human beings, and instill spirituality and influence their minds.
I asked Mr. Shearer what he thinks is it the most important aspect of the environment at MSJ. He said “There are 3 things I believe will never change here. They are Motivation, Dedication, and Concentration.”
Brad Howell ’19 is on Twitter @BradHowell34.