Teacher, Troost Elementary School
Born and raised in Kansas City, MO. Attended Martin City Elementary/ Middle School in the Grandview School District and Rockhurst High School. Graduated from the University of Kansas City Missouri with a degree in Early Childhood Education and later received a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction. Has been an educator for ten years and will be entering 9th year in the Kansas City Public Schools. For the past 8 years has taught at Troost Elementary in Kindergarten, First Grade, and next year will be teaching Third Grade. Proud Building Representative and Executive Board Member of Kansas City Federation of Teachers and School Related Personnel Local 691.
What made you want to become a teacher? What does teaching bring to your life?
The acquisition of knowledge has always been something that has interested me. I love to learn new things and challenge my current understanding of the world. As an educator I have always been interested in “how” students learn and apply knowledge. I feel that the most important aspect of a free democratic society is a highly educated populous that can think critically.
Education brings to my life the balance between all the different things that I find important. It allows me to explore the philosophies of the best practices for how students can learn and be active in advocating for the changes that need to take place so that all students can have a high-quality education. It lets me push myself intellectually every single day while doing something that I love.
As an elementary school teacher, what are the biggest challenges facing our young students, and what should we be doing to support them?
The biggest challenges that face our students today are those that are still unseen. Our world is evolving more quickly each day, and the opportunities and occupations that will be available to our students are unknown. Our students will need to be able to think critically to navigate this unforeseen future. Unlike the generations in the past, our young students will have to work in a world that is not already prepared for them. They have to take on the challenges left from previous generations in a way that our society has not seen before.
In order to support our students, we need to ensure that we are electing public officials and representatives in the local, state, and national level that support Public Education. Ensuring that all students are receiving a high-quality education and can reach the goals they have set for themselves. Public Education is an institution that has come under attack and as a society we need to ensure that it does not become a relic of the past because without it we will never be able to ensure that all students are prepared for the future.
You work at Troost Elementary, what makes teaching in the urban core unique?
Next year will be my 9th year at Troost Elementary and it is my second home. The relationships that I have built with the students, families, and staff at this school are ones that I cherish deeply. Everyday brings it own challenges and rewards that contribute to my love of the profession.
The most unique part about teaching in the urban core is the level of resilience that the students have. Some students are experiencing situations that adults have difficulty handling or that some will never have to experience. Even with these adverse experiences it never ceases to amaze me how students will come in with a smile on their face ready to learn. We have some of the most intelligent and hard-working students right here in our own city and it is a pleasure to get to work with them everyday and see them grow and flourish.
You were recently awarded the Excellence in Education Marva Collins award; what did winning this award mean to you?
Teaching is a profession that is full of a thousand small rewards but many times as a teacher you never get to really see the long-term effect of your relationship with each student. After such a long and tiring year, it is hard to explain the honor I had to even be nominated for this award. It was an even greater feeling when I won because I know how hard-working and amazing so many teachers are in our district. It has definitely given me a recharge to continue to strive to accomplish my goals as an educator and has helped me realize that even though I have accomplished a lot, I have only just begun.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to teach in Kansas City?
At UMKC I remember a picture that has stayed with me for years. I can’t remember what the object was in the picture but on it was graffiti that said, “Never Settle”. At first glance these are just words, but it is actually the best advice I could give any educator. As an educator you never will have all the answers or have no room for improvement. Always strive to make yourself the best teacher that you can be and reach out to learn new practices and skills. Kansas City Public Schools is a great place for teachers to become outstanding in what they do. Teaching is not an easy profession but if you want to take on the challenge to become a great educator and prepare our students for an ever-changing future come teach for Kansas City Public Schools.