Troost Elementary School
K-3 Reading Interventionist
What factors influenced your decision to become a teacher? Identify what you consider to be your greatest contributions to and accomplishments in education.
I knew I wanted to work with children and families, but education was not the direction I originally went. I started working for LINC in 1999 as a site coordinator. After my first year, the principal approached me and asked if I had ever thought of teaching and she hired me on the spot. From the first day I stepped into the classroom I was in love with teaching. I had many influential teachers throughout my life and I have always remembered their impact. I wanted to make an impact on students’ lives. I also struggled as a student, so I have always wanted to advocate for students like me.
I feel that my greatest contributions to education have been the lasting relationships I have with my students and families. Many of my students come back as adults to visit me and some have come back and volunteered in my classroom during their breaks from school or to meet their A-Plus requirements.
I have been an advocate for early intervention and meeting the needs of students when the achievement gap is small. I will always fight for what is best for our students. All students deserve an equal education no matter where they live or what their current circumstances are.
Describe a project or initiative that you have led or been involved with that contributed to increasing equity in education and opportunity for students in your school. What was your role in this project and what was the impact?
I received funding for Camp Invention for two years. Camp Invention provided a week-long STEM camp to 40 students who would otherwise not be able to afford this opportunity. While working with students I realized our students were not collaborators and problem solvers. They got frustrated and gave up easily when things got hard. In order for them to be successful later in life, these were skills they needed. I worked with my principal and created “STEMesday” on our Wednesday early release days. We had building-wide challenges in STEM. Students worked in teams and created team names. Each month they received a new challenge. If challenges were met, teams would present their strategies. If they fell a bit short of meeting a challenge, teams would present what didn’t work and how they could improve. During this project, I organized all of the challenges and supplies needed for the school. I provided resources for the teachers and organized students into groups. After the first couple of challenges, students began to work through challenges without anger and frustration. They were learning how to listen to all group members in order to best meet the challenge. When they fell short, they wanted to work harder, and when they were successful, they celebrated. We were preparing our students for the real world. We also opened their eyes to STEM-based careers.