Easley High School
1.) Tell us about your role as an educator. What does your typical day look like?
As an educator my typical day consists of student-centered learning structures. My students are encouraged to use research and analytical thinking to problem solve and work in teams. In my classroom we use socratic seminars and questioning to ask and answer big questions together by using high quality texts. I have meetings with my student council group to plan activities for the student body and PLC with teachers in my hallway to work on our classes.
2.) What’s your education philosophy summed up in one sentence?
Positive relationships infused with high expectations and rigorous assignments will generate student achievement and self-worth of all stake-holders.
3.) Why did you become an educator?
I became an educator so that I could positively influence students to see that they are capable of outcomes beyond what they initially believed to be possible. Everyone needs someone who will support and challenge them in their lives. I wanted to make sure I could be that person to as many young people as possible.
4.) As an SCASCD Emerging Leader, how do you hope to have a greater effect on education in your community and beyond?
One of the greatest ways to improve education is by collaborating with all stake-holders. That means it is important to do a lot of listening, reflecting, and sharing. No matter how long or how good a teacher may be it is essential to continue learning by listening to administrators, teachers, students, parents, and the community. I would love to be part of discussions to improve education. I am willing to bring these discussion back to other communities to collaborate implementation through professional development and presentations. Education is most successful when we work collaboratively rather than individually.
5.) What types of professional development (books, DVDs, webinars, courses) have made a difference in your career?
One of the most influential professional development courses I attended was at the High Schools That Work Conference in 2019. It discussed at-risk and wounded students. With the increase of mental health issues in our world, understanding how to identify, support, and teach students who are either experiencing these issues or have family members experiencing them is a burden that must fall on schools, families, and communities. This professional development challenged me to think about new ways to teach and support my students.
6.) Was there a pivotal moment when you realized your career choice in education was the correct one? Describe that time.
In my sixth year of teaching I decided to apply for a National Board Teaching Certification. As I wrote up the reflections of my teaching style, student achievement, and professional accomplishments I realized the deep love I had for education and all the different types of success I had seen personally and in my classroom. I realized in that moment that I had influenced hundreds of students and their families as well as my school and the community. Writing that reflection was like watching a movie trailer of my career. It was an emotional and humbling event. I have continued to use this experience to make these deep reflections on my decisions since then as well.
7.) If you could make one major change in education, what would it be?
Educators need to dedicate even more relevance into the curriculum we teach. It is crucial for educators to find ways to teach the whole student and not just specific subjects. This includes the emotional and social parts of life as well as the ways the subject areas will influence the people in our lives and the society we live in.
8.) What is your most rewarding experience as an educator?
My most rewarding experience as an educator occurred when I was the advisor of a Youth In Government program. Throughout the five years in this program I witnessed the evolution of shy students too afraid to share opinions on important and controversial matters to well informed confident scholars ready to share their opinions. They blossomed into advocates for what they believed in and used research based evidence to support those beliefs. They ran for leadership positions at the state level and then formed delegation support in our school as well. I saw the impacts of my educational philosophy and how those ideas could flourish in students and follow them later on into college and careers.