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TEACH FOR AMERICA CORPS MEMBER SPOTLIGHT - WHITNEY LAWSON

Whitney LawsonA 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.

WHITNEY LAWSON, a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. She is in her second year of teaching English Language Arts at Risley International Academy of Innovation.

WHY EDUCATION AS A CAREER

“Growing up in a rural Oklahoma town, I knew education was a pathway to a better life. Throughout middle and high school, I was privileged to have teachers who encouraged me to develop my writing and apply for college scholarships. Without those educators, my life today might look quite different. I know, firsthand, just how influential a supportive teacher can be in a student's life. 

“Ultimately, I chose a career in education because I wished to have a similar impact.”

ON TEACH FOR AMERICA 

“My path to TFA was a bit nontraditional. I joined TFA after years spent in curriculum writing and adjunct teaching. I am an advocate for other career-changing professionals who may want to enter K-12 education with TFA. I enjoyed my previous experience in the workforce, yet as a higher education instructor, I often saw students arrive in the college classroom without the foundational skills they needed for success. 

“I was drawn to a career change because I felt that I could make a greater impact teaching at the K-12 level. TFA has connected me with a community of inspiring educators, as well as a phenomenal district and school site. 

“I did not have any reservations about this move, and our district and Pueblo felt like home almost immediately.” 

IMPACT OF LIFE EXPERIENCES

“Previous teaching and curriculum writing experience has certainly benefited my instruction; I know many career-changers have experience and knowledge to impart in a transition to K-12 teaching. More than professional experience, though, the ability to develop genuine relationships with students and stakeholders has had the most significant impact on my evolution as a K-12 instructor. 

“Our brilliant and determined students also teach me about grit every day, which has greatly impacted my instruction.”  

IMPRESSION OF PUEBLO AND THE DISTRICT 

“This is my second year in Pueblo with Risley and D60; I often say that I feel I've been here for far longer because both the educational community and Pueblo community have been so supportive, warm and welcoming. My husband and I hope to stay in the Pueblo area for years to come. 

“In my work at Risley, I have been particularly impressed by the intelligence and resilience of our students, as well as the skill and support of my colleagues and administrators. As a member of the Risley team, I have grown as both a person and an educator. The work we do is vital and energizing; I am excited to come to work each day.”