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TEACH FOR AMERICA CORPS MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
A non-profit organization, Teach For America’s stated mission is to "enlist, develop, and mobilize as many as possible of our nation's most promising future leaders to grow and strengthen the movement for educational equity and excellence."
The selected members, known as "corps members," commit to teaching for at least two years in the District.
Brianna Apodaca, of Alamosa, earned a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology from Colorado College and a Master's in Curriculum and Instruction: Critical Pedagogy, from the University of Colorado-Denver.
She is an Exceptional Student Services teacher at Pueblo Academy of the Arts.
EDUCATION AS A CAREER
"I wouldn’t say I chose education as a career; rather education chose me. Throughout my career exploration, I wanted to be in the medical field, but education was a calling I couldn’t turn away from.
"Everywhere I looked, improving the education system was where a lot of problems stemmed from. When I looked around me, the biggest impact I could have on this world began with empowering youth.
"Our children are the future, but to get there they need strong leaders: strong educators. When you think about every position of power, every job possible, many people begin their story with a teacher that motivated them and pushed them to be better.
"Our students and younger generations hold so much knowledge that I believe can make our world better, but in order for that to happen, we need educators to give our students the tools they need to be successful. I hope to empower our students like the teachers I’ve had that have believed in me and saw my potential when I couldn’t."
WHY TEACH FOR AMERICA
"I elected to join Teach for America because of my want to serve our students that need a champion. I wanted to be there for our students. I think about the educator I needed when I was going to school. I wanted someone to meet me where I was at, but also push me to all the different possibilities I could be.
"Of course, there were reservations moving far away and also my internal conflict of serving a community that wasn’t mine. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to do our students justice or if I was going to fit in. However, these reservations quickly disappeared as the Pueblo community has become my familia and my home away from home.
"Every day, I strive to be a better educator that shows up for our students and our community day after day, through the challenges and celebrations."
IMPACT OF LIFE EXPERIENCES
"I believe that every life experience benefits classroom experience. Being raised in a rural community that is predominately a Latinx community benefits my classroom experience as I represent the students I serve: many of the students see themselves in me, as I see myself in them.
"Growing up in a small community that struggles with advanced resources, I came to realize the internalized doubts with going to college and accessing higher education and because of that, I think I can relate to my students and their families on so many levels. The future possibilities are limitless and I want each and every one of my students to know that.
"Another experience that benefits my instruction is having a brother that has autism. He has been my biggest inspiration and motivation in my everyday life, not just in the classroom. As a special education teacher, I have truly learned the importance of inclusion, as well as the disparities that are evident within special education.
"At the end of the day, every student wants to belong, they want to be loved, and they want to be valued, which guides my mission as an educator."
IMPRESSION OF THE DISTRICT AND PUEBLO
"My initial impression of Pueblo is the value, beauty, and rich culture that is evident but has been underestimated and misrepresented across the state. I love the uniqueness of community, the importance of traditions, and the value of culture.
"My initial impression of the District is that there is a priority on improvements and changes for the better. There are many committees and people within the District to make our District better, even though this sometimes is easier said than done.
"The community I am surrounded by is resilient, empowering, rich in love, and I am proud to be a part of it."