An Emory TFA Alum Expands, Strengthens Impact in Region
Metro Atlanta native Jasmine Bowles (Miami-Dade, ’10) is a Bridge Academy educator and leader of her non-profit, PROOF.
Jasmine Bowles went to Emory University, set on going to law school. But the universe took her into a different direction and instead, she graduated from college with a newfound passion to impact education. Now seven years later, a fire to end educational inequity burns without end.
ATLANTA—“My long-term goal for schools and students is to continue to have a role in the fight to make it right,” said Bowles as the Impact Blog spoke with her outside her classroom at the Bridge Academy.
Bowles grew up in Clayton County and went to Lovejoy High School. She enrolled at Emory, majoring in English and African-American studies. During her junior year at Emory, she participated in a study abroad program at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.
It was there where she discovered that she wanted to fight for students in the “classroom” as a teacher, rather than the “courtroom” as a lawyer. She taught in the townships twice a week.
“There was something about walking into a space, having a child not know something, and then leaving the space and they are different,” said Bowles with great enthusiasm and a beaming smile. “Their brains grew in your presence.”
When she came back home to Atlanta, she met with a TFA recruiter, applied to the corps, was accepted and moved to the Teach For America-Miami-Dade region as a 2010 corps member.
Impacting Students in Miami and Beyond
Bowles taught for two years in Miami, while earning a master’s degree from the University of Miami. After her corps commitment, she moved to New Orleans for a teaching position and has been expanding her impact within education ever since.
“Since leaving the corps, I have taught, I have been an instructional coach, I’ve done some administrative work at charter schools. I was elected board member of a charter school in New Orleans for a small neighborhood school. That was one of the highlights of my experiences there,” said Bowles.
“I’ve really enjoyed being able to work in many environments.”
The relationship is reciprocal, as her students and colleagues enjoy her presence within the educational ecosystem and nonprofit community.
‘A Great Youth Development Practitioner’
Jasmine now teaches math at Bridge Academy, a private school on the Southside of Atlanta. According to its website, Bridge “is a full-time High School Diploma and GED Prep program that offers a nontraditional path for students who struggle academically in traditional public school.” Bowles’ students note that though she is an educator who has high expectations for every person, they realize her actions are rooted in seeing student success.
"Ms. Bowles is awesome. On a personal level, she makes me go harder for my business. Academically, she gets on us a lot, but I like that,” said senior Alexis Childress. “I love how she comes in and no matter what mood she's in, she says 'good morning sunshine.’"
Bridge Academy executive director Tammy Miller agrees wholeheartedly with Childress.
“Jasmine is a great youth development practitioner. She's a passionate, deep thinker who always challenges the students and young people alike, to reach higher,” said Miller.
Plans for the Future
In addition to her position at Bridge, Bowles also leads a non-profit called PROOF (Plans, Resources, and Opportunities for Organized Freedom).
“The ultimate goal of PROOF is to be a wraparound village for schools,” said Bowles.
Bowles says though young, the organization is slowly evolving and earning valued partnerships with community stakeholders to deeply impact schools. However, Bowles’ impact is not complete, as she has aspirations for holding political office in Georgia in the future, though she is not sure when that time will present itself.
One thing, she says, is for sure about her career in education.
“Teach For America has had a pretty big impact on my life.”
By Hubert Tate, The Impact Blog