Courtney A. Brown
State and City of Residence:
Baton Rouge, LA
Formerly 3rd, 4th (English & Social Studies), currently 6th and 7th English Language Arts
Why do you work in education?
Interesting story... once upon a time (lol) I was a residential counselor fresh out of undergrad with a degree in Psychology. From the residential counseling position, I was promoted to foster care case management. I coordinated services for children in the custody of the state. Then, I became a case manager supervisor working to provide social services to clients with disabilities and elderly clients. When Hurricane Katrina happened and I was forced to relocate and I became a substitute teacher because there were no jobs available in my field. After one year I was hired as a full-time paraprofessional to serve as a computer lab manager. One day, a third grade teacher quit and I was placed in the room as the teacher. The rest is history!! My heart found a home in that classroom of little ones that day. I've been teaching now for 10 years.
Tell us about something that you have done in education that you feel has made or will make a big difference for your community?
THRIVE has built a reputation in four short years as a place where the hardest children in Baton Rouge come for transformation. This year, my classes are publishing anthology submissions about our school - THRIVE Academy (boarding school). These books will present the great things happening at THRIVE Academy in the lives of its most valuable resource - the students. The community will benefit from the presence of this book as a year-to-year, history-in-the-making chronicle for posterity. Year after year, the environment of success here changes lives and the book project will display this.
What’s your favorite part about being an America Achieves Fellow?
My FAVORITE part of being a fellow is the undying support I've received. I do not ever feel alone anymore as an educator. There are exceptional colleagues all over the country available to me and it is amazing. There is also the support that I have received from the fellowship team to accomplish my wildest imaginations. Because of America Achieves, I now have an online newsletter (grant funded), assistance with web design and op-ed editing help.
If you could change just one thing about our current education system, what would it be?
The inequity existing between schools' resources, funding and teaching staff would be the one thing that I would work to change in education. Poverty cannot be disregarded as an unimportant variable. The unfair distribution of resources affects student performance according to research.
What’s your dream vacation?
A writer's retreat to St. Croix with unlimited room service.
What is one fun fact that most people don’t know about you?
When I'm happy (which is practically all of the time), I see bunnies...furry, nose-twitching bunnies!!
What is your other favorite thing to do (besides education, or course!)?
Eat!! I love to eat...(I mean, I'm from New Orleans.)
Who is your biggest inspiration?
My son is my absolute biggest inspiration. He's come through seemingly insurmountable obstacles and he keeps right on kicking. His resilience is to be commended.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I am an author of 5 books and the CEO of my own publishing company. A future goal is to write and provide curriculum guides as teacher and parent resources.