Our new staff members this year are innovative and smart, passionate about what they do, and ready to engage our middle schoolers in an exciting and rigorous year of learning. Let’s hear from a few of them directly as to why they became educators, who influenced their choice to teach, and what they do for fun.

When did you know you wanted to work in education?

Mr. Sumrall:
I knew I wanted to work in education in grad school, when I started forming meaningful relationships with students in my freshman composition class.

Mrs. Richardson:
I knew I wanted to work in education when I was in 5th grade.

Ms. Veloz, a new teacher at Vanguard Collegiate of Indianapolis

Ms. Veloz

Ms. Veloz:
I realized I wanted to work in education when I was working as a substitute teacher. I was introduced to a family that needed assistance with translation services. At that moment I realized there was a need. I jumped in and started doing my part. I started my journey by furthering my education and learning how to assist families and teachers but most importantly — our scholars.

Who was your favorite teacher and why?

Mrs. Richardson:
My favorite teacher was Mrs. Lewer. She was my 5th through 8th grade English teacher. She saw my talent in English and fostered my love of the subject by supporting me in my endeavors. Moreover, she saw me when I didn’t think anyone in the world could see me. She was the one person I could talk to without being judged.

Mr. Sumrall

Mr. Sumrall:
My favorite teacher was Mrs. Budd, my high school English teacher. She encouraged me in my education more than anyone else, particularly in a time when I was not making education a priority for myself.

Ms. Veloz:
My favorite teacher was Mrs. Blockson, she was my seventh grade social studies teacher. She was hard and stern, she smelled like my granny and loved me like my mom. She did not let me slack and held me accountable for my actions and decisions. She pushed me to my full potential; I owe much of my success to that gem.

How does Vanguard’s mission and vision align with your personal values?

Mr. Sumrall:
I believe that the words and language we use can have monumental effects on the people we become and the kind of influence we have on the people around us. To have command and control of the thoughts and words we have and use is crucial to becoming effective communicators and powerful critical thinkers.

Mrs. Richardson

Mrs. Richardson:
I think Vanguard’s vision aligns with my values especially when they state “empowering middle schoolers to create and find their leadership voices that will change the world”. I believe that young people are the future and the more knowledge they possess the better educated the world will be tomorrow.

Ms. Veloz:
My school’s mission and vision aligns with my personal values because we are creating leaders who will be focused, well rounded and equipped for life. The fact that Vanguard is unapologetically college focused makes me proud to be a part of the team. When I was in high school, I did not have the proper guidance for college. I had the grades but no direction for how to make attendance a reality. I chose a different route and served in the Navy, I served 7 years then attended college as an adult with three young children. The military was a great alternative however, I know if I knew how to fill out a FAFSA, use my 21st Century Scholarship I would have attended college instead of joining the Navy. Vanguard is eliminating this factor for our students and I am elated to know that they will be able to make an informed decision.

What do you love most about your role?

Mr. Sumrall:
I love being able to introduce new texts alongside familiar ones so students can learn something interesting in the unfamiliar and something new in the familiar.

Mrs. Richardson:
I love my role as an ELA teacher because I get to experience my scholars’ creativity and imagination through reading and writing.

Ms. Veloz:
My role allows me to serve a community that is not only underserved but often overlooked and disregarded. I believe we all have a purpose and add value to our community. I am happy to see smiling faces that trust me enough to let me be a part of their student’s education, their lives and often family. I love this community!

What else would you like us to know about YOU? (What do you like to do for fun?)

Mr. Sumrall:
I enjoy listening to records, writing short stories, and gardening.

Mrs. Richardson:
In my free time, I love reading young adult novels and my husband and I love traveling on the weekends.

Ms. Veloz:
I am a self proclaimed folklorist. I love to sit and tell stories to my children and students about my childhood. My childhood was rich and holds a lot of great memories of friends and family who are no longer with me. When I get to share a piece of this with others it makes me feel whole and happy.

About Vanguard

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!

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