State and City of Residence:
Baton Rouge, LA
Principal at THRIVE Baton Rouge, LA
Why do you work in education?
This work is undoubtedly my passion. I grew up into an area very similar to that which my students have grown up in, areas where it is more about getting through the day than getting into college. I saw first hand the power of education. It is through education that students can overcome income status and circumstance. Someone saw potential in me and pushed me. It is my responsibility now to pay that forward and push our countries next generation.
Tell us about something that you have done in education that you feel has made or will make a big difference for your community?
In Baton Rouge we have an abundance of students that experience a great deal of struggles between the hours when school closes and when school reopens the next day. The sad reality is that due to violence, poverty and drugs in our communities many of our students question whether they will make it to the next school day. Knowing that this was an issue, I helped to found the first public boarding school in Louisiana and the fifth of its kind in the country.
What’s your favorite part about being an America Achieves Fellow?
My favorite part of being a Fellow is the community and the family that is created. This is an amazing group of educators that has an undying belief in the potential of the student. This is a group of educators that pushes you to be better than you thought possible and sees your potential. This is a group of people that I can call on at any time when I need them for advice or support. Being a Fellow has without a doubt made me a better version of me.
If you could change just one thing about our current education system, what would it be?
Our accountability system is terribly broken for students and adults. It is time we review what the purpose of education is in America because I do not believe that we have a foundational definition and thus the system itself feels disjointed. I do believe that we need to have a standard and hold students and adults accountable, yet the system must meet the expectation that we have for those implementing it. We are too quick to change things in education without having a well-crafted implementation plan.
If a song played every time you walked into a room, what would that song be?
"Eye of the Tiger" or "I Was Here" by Beyoncé.
What’s the best thing a student ever said to you?
"Thank you for seeing me. Because of you not only do I know that I can but I will."
What’s your dream vacation?
A tour of the continent of Africa
What is one fun fact that most people don’t know about you?
I can whistle the Greek alphabet before a match goes out.
What is your other favorite thing to do (besides education, or course!)?
Travel – in particular to Ghana to run our non-profit there.
What is your biggest inspiration?
My Grandmother, Mary Jones, the most inspiring educator that I know.
What is one book every educator must read?