Why did you join TFA? Coming from a family of public school educators, the importance of education and the centrality of educators seemed like a no-brainer. After working in the Texas Legislature, I realized needed to understand the challenges facing schools, teachers, students, families, and communities’ first-hand if I ever wanted to be able to contribute to a solution. Additionally, while working, one of my mother's former students found me and told me that my mother changed her life. That encounter confirmed my career shift, and left my spirit at ease. I applied to Teach for America the following Friday night, and the rest, as they say, is history...
Why Choose Rhode Island? Proximity, which, whether you realize it or not, is an opportunity in and of itself. Growing up in Texas, it took forever to travel anywhere. You could drive for eight hours and still be in Texas. Here, our proximity is unmatched: beaches in 15 minutes, Boston in 45 minutes, New Haven in an hour and a half, New York City in three and a half hours, and The Berkshires, White Mountains, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Upstate New York, and Maine are all just short trips away. Even Canada is within reach. It's a wonderful part of life here!
Favorite Memory of TFA: It's very difficult to pick a favorite, as there have been so many. Perhaps when a 5th grade teacher and colleague of mine came to personally tell me how well-prepared and thriving my students were, specifically mentioning their ability to write well-constructed sentences and paragraphs for essays, and then, when I saw those students again, hearing them tell me, that "5th grade is easy because of all our hard work, Mr. Redden."
Advice for Current Corps Members: Love. I advise you to love. Love radically and unconditionally. Because things are rarely as they seem, love. Because we all still have so much to learn, love. Because it is difficult to understand what you have not experienced, love. Love your students, love their parents, love your colleagues and the people you meet during your time here. Love because our kids, our community, and our world deserve it. If you choose love, I can promise you that it will be re-granted in infinite returns.
College’s Attended: University of Houston, Brown University