Tribute to Teachers: Dr. Kathy Kerstetter of Sheridan Park Elementary inspires with music

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – Every year, Local 10′s Tribute to Teachers campaign recognizes the best educators in South Florida, with only five honorees selected from hundreds of nominations.

Dr. Kathy Kerstetter, or Dr. K, as she is affectionately known to her students, has been teaching music for 28 years, seven of those at Sheridan Park Elementary.

“My goal is to give them a safe place to feel and belong, and I really do believe we could change the world with more music,” says Dr. K.

The teacher runs two music clubs before and after school and the students have performed at dozens of competitions and received numerous awards.

And she’s had life-changing influences on her students through the years.

Her students have this to say about her:

“She’s probably my favorite teacher of all time.”

“She just helps us a lot.”

“I really love her and she’s made me learn a lot.”

“She’s the best...the best teacher I’ve ever had.”

They all think the world of her, but none more than Jacob and Skylar Velazquez.

The brother and sister duo are music composers and artists. Having learned directly from Dr. K. as students, they’ve performed at festivals, movie premieres and the 2022 USA Special Olympics.

It was their proud mother, Tina Velazquez, who nominated Dr. K for Local 10′s Tribute to Teachers.

“We will never forget you and everything you have done for our family,” said Velazquez.

Kerstetter is among a select group of South Florida educators receiving recognition from the Tribute to Teachers campaign.

The recognition also comes with a $1,000 gift card from Publix Super Markets.

To see the stories of all the winners, click here.

All of the winning teachers will be introduced each day this week during Local 10′s 5:30 p.m. newscast.

About the Author:

Mayte Padron Cordones is an Emmy-award winning journalist and the director of WPLG's Community Relations Department, overseeing the station's outreach initiatives to benefit and strengthen the South Florida community.