MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Grosse Pointe educator moonlights as meteorologist
Bryan Schuerman plays two roles that put him in the spotlight: Family Consumer Sciences teacher in Grosse Pointe and weekend meteorologist at WDIV-TV in Detroit.
How did you end up pursuing two demanding careers? In about 2012, I was working Monday through Friday nights doing the 7 and 11 p.m. newscast in Hagerstown, Maryland. I wasn’t making much money, and I didn’t have to be at work till 3 in the afternoon, so I started subbing a couple of days a week. Ended up doing a long-term sub in family consumer sciences and math, and that math teacher, who I’m still friends with today, told me, “You should go get your master’s in education. You’re good at this.” So I did. Never thought of it before that.
Have you always wanted to do weather? I’ve wanted to do this job since I was five years old. I watched it all the time, visited all the stations in Cincinnati where I grew up. So nine or ten years into my career, getting to go into the number-one station in Cincinnati with anchors and reporters I’d watched as a kid, that was humbling and one of my best experiences outside of working here in Detroit.
What do you love about that job? It’s the science behind it, and with all of the extreme weather we’re seeing there is a need for what we do. When minutes matter and lives matter, people are turning to us to understand what’s going on. I became a meteorologist because of extreme weather — tornadoes and severe thunderstorms are my jazz — and we’re always looking ahead to the next thing so it’s never boring.
You’re not teaching science, right? My first full-time teaching assignment was middle school science, but I added on the Family Consumer Sciences endorsement because if it wasn’t for that and vocal music I wouldn’t have made it through high school. I’m teaching Family Consumer Sciences at Grosse Pointe North High School, which involves life skills our kids need to be surviving human beings after 18 years old. I’ve been teaching personal finance and independent living, things like how to balance a checkbook and how credit cards work. In general Family Consumer Sciences involves classes like child development, fashion, interior design, nutrition and wellness.
Why is Family Consumer Sciences so important to you? I’ve had many hurdles in my life, and I’m the living embodiment of the idea that if you’re dreaming you want to do something, you can do it. I have a learning disability that made it difficult for me in school. My parents were not able to support me in college, and now I have three degrees. I never thought I’d get the chance to work in a top-10 market like Detroit, but I’m swimming in the big leagues. I wouldn’t be standing here right now if not for Family Consumer Sciences education in high school. It gave me the skills to function on my own. I was a state officer in my senior year of high school in FCCLA, which is the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America. I’ve kick-started an FCCLA group in Grosse Pointe; in fact, at every school where I’ve taught, I’ve either kept one going or started one.
What’s been your biggest moment in television since arriving at WDIV? With the winter storm that hit on the Friday before Christmas, I was on-air the weekend before. I had been on the phone with (longtime WDIV meteorologist) Paul Gross in the afternoon of Saturday and Sunday showing him my forecast and picking his brain. I trust him implicitly, and he said I was spot on: We knew snow would be in the forecast, and rapidly falling temps, but the models weren’t agreeing on how much rain we would get and what time it would turn over. I had to go on-air and say, we’re going to have a high-impact storm, but there is uncertainty with this yet. We know this, this and this. But this is going to change. Keep your eyes on it. And all through that week and into the storm coverage, even though I’m not a full-time meteorologist, I was part of the team planning it all out.
How do you keep up the pace? Working seven days a week will take a toll. Am I ready for mid-winter break in February? You betcha. But I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy it and feel that it’s worth my time. I’m glad to be part of a station like Local 4 that has a sterling reputation and has treated me like a member of the family. They don’t want me to leave teaching; they know I like it, and they think it’s great. They’re willing to support it, which is rare to find in a company.
I think I’m the only broadcast meteorologist that actually holds two seals of approval — the National Weather Association Broadcasters Seal of Approval and the American Meteorological Society’s certified teacher seal, known as the CAT. I wouldn’t trade anything I’ve done for the world.