Our extraordinary teachers are the backbone of everything we do at Vanguard Collegiate of Indianapolis. We love to share with our close-knit community whenever we can, who we are as a staff and as individuals. We are called to serve as educators; some of us have this clarity from a young age and some of us stumble into it and realize it is the best thing we could ever do.
When did you know you wanted to be an educator?
I knew teaching was my calling when I saw a Master Teacher, teaching a group of extremely excited 5th graders Algebra.
I knew that I had a deep passion for education since I was younger. Mainly because I truly loved reading and learning new things. I knew that I wanted to work in K-12 education my senior year of college. I was faced with deciding to go to graduate school in the field I was in or go to school to become a teacher. Of course, I chose teaching. It was easily the best decision I have ever made.
I didn’t, I just stumbled into it. At IU I majored in Afro Studies and wanted to go the PHD route because the world had no clue what this information could include. I worked as a building sub let me know that our kids were not being treated fairly. I worked at Indiana Business college and learned that adults of color were being overcharged for less.
Who was your favorite teacher?
My favorite teacher was Ms. Morrow, my 6th grade Science teacher. One reason she was my favorite teacher was because she was the only teacher in the building at the time who looked like me (a black woman). She was one of the first representations of myself that I saw as a teacher growing up, which allowed me to really believe that I could also become a teacher one day.
My favorite teacher was my 1st grade teacher, Ms. Jump. Ms. Jump was a first year superstar teacher. She taught her class to “see” the world. Best Memory: Ms. Jump observing me teach a 6th grade math class, not recognizing who she was and wondering why she was crying in the back of my classroom.
Mr. Kriech. Short white man that got it and understood more than most. He taught me in and out of the classroom. He was there for me as I dealt with the trauma of having a mother with an aneurysm and when I had to switch homes mid school year and started living with my grandparents. He had sleepovers and I actually felt safe. He gave me a job the summer after 5th grade working on his real estate properties. He taught me more than I knew what to do with. He was my teacher, basketball coach, manager and mentor. He broke the norm for white people and all people for me.
How does Vanguard’s mission and vision align with your personal values?
I’ve always tried to be a leader in thought, word and action. I’ve always wanted to do the right thing. Although an 80’s baby I grew learning about my history on my own. I bought into learning, serving and leading in middle school because it made sense. I didn’t want to let my family down or myself.
Our school focuses on preparing our scholars for college but more importantly, developing leaders “in thought, word, and action”. My teaching philosophy is based on empowering scholars to become leaders within their communities. My goal is to teach scholars all the tools they need and for them to take those skills and knowledge and become leaders.
A main component of Vanguard’s mission statement is character development. One of my personal values is “know better, do better.” Everyday I’m building a better me.
What do you love most about your role?
My favorite part about being a social studies teacher is that I am able to constantly connect the content that I teach with the real world experiences of our scholars. I love when our scholars draw connections from “past events” and are able to understand how it influences the world we live in today. It is important for them to understand how the different systems that are in place were built and how they work.
I love hearing scholars say out loud, “I get it now”, “ I know how to solve the problem this way, but I like doing it that way better”.
Everything I do challenges me to be better but to be mindful of balance. I was raised by the community and this allows me to do my part in helping the next generation that needs community figures more than they know.
What else would you like us to know about YOU? (What do you like to do for fun?)
I enjoy working puzzles, listening to music in the park, playing dominos, playing tennis, golf, I’m a fan…I root for the Fever, Pacers, Colts, Venus, and Serena.
I love traveling! I try to travel as much as possible.
I just looked at my watch. I got time today but not really. Know that I’m just getting started. That I’m the legacy of those that came before me and those that come after me will carry it forward. Sometimes my wings feel as big as the sun shines and for far too long I felt like they were in chains. Nope they were just getting strong during the process. It’s time I start learning how to catch up to my ambition. Clocks ticking and old Arthur tends to hang around my knees.
Vanguard Collegiate of Indianapolis is unapologetically focused on the academic success of our scholars, our fifth to eighth grade students. Situated in Central Indianapolis, we provide high-quality instruction, rigorous curriculum, and supportive character development. We create pathways to college success and to becoming leaders in thought, word, and action. Be a Vanguard, today!