Faith & Purpose: Chavon Curry Reflects on Her Calling in Education
Chavon Curry stands on the belief that a person's zip code does not limit or determine their final destination.
February 1, 2023
Since her beginnings as a journalist and nonprofit mentor, to her time as a Teach For America corps member, classroom teacher, and district professional development facilitator, she’s felt called to improve the lives of people in her community. Her current role as an Assistant Principal at Mason School of Academic and Cultural Literacy (St. Louis Public Schools) illuminates her steadfast goal of ensuring everyone she crosses paths with realizes their potential.
An Advocate for Change
Chavon first heard about Teach For America after she transitioned from working as a TV news anchor and reporter. At the time, she was a youth mentor, often collaborating with a classroom teacher who was completing her last year with TFA as a corps member.
“Right then, I decided I wanted the opportunity to be an advocate for change in the lives of those in neighborhoods that I once covered in the news,” she said. “I felt compelled to be part of TFA because it provided an opportunity for me to gain experience and move forward in education to impact more lives.”
“I felt compelled to be part of TFA because it provided an opportunity for me to gain experience and move forward in education to impact more lives.”
Hands-on Crash Course
In 2011, Chavon joined TFA and taught first grade at her placement school, Derrick Thomas Academy in Kansas City, Missouri. Her experience was initially difficult, but eventually became rewarding. Determined to make a difference, she helped increase her students’ reading level by two grade levels by the end of the school year. Instilling self-respect into her students was at the core of her success.
“Many of my kids came from extremely challenging environments (low- income, crime and violence-ridden),” said Chavon, “however, when they stepped into my classroom, I made sure they knew that they were valued. I'm most proud of the times when I had opportunities to advocate for my students and their parents when they had personal life challenges.”
Faith and Purpose
Chavon continued her education by earning her Master's degree (M.Ed. in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Urban Education) from University of Missouri St. Louis. She credits higher learning, along with her TFA corps experience, for exposing her to a rewarding path in education and also, for deepening her understanding of the inequities that plague the field and underserved communities throughout the country.
“Without education, other industries do not exist,” said Chavon. “Access and opportunity are tools that are often withheld from those who are intentionally marginalized. My time as a TFA corps member allowed me to leverage key resources during the journey of advocating for a high-quality, equitable education for students.”
In light of her heightened awareness, the award-winning educator remains thankful for allowing faith and purpose to mold her career trajectory.
“As a school leader, I am motivated to impact lives by creating and mobilizing passports of education to the hearts and minds of students, staff and families that I interact with.”
A Multifaceted Calling
As an Elementary Assistant Principal, Chavon’s position included several facets: cultivating school culture & climate, enforcing safety policies and procedures, incentivizing and promoting positive student expectations and behavior, fostering relationships between staff, students & parents, and ensuring quality learning experiences that prompt academic achievement. In addition to her role as a school leader, she holds current memberships and roles on multiple advisory boards and councils throughout St. Louis. She’s also a Doctoral candidate at Webster University.
Know the “Why”
If embracing a calling in education has taught Chavon anything, it’s the power of paying it forward. She’s adamant about helping new generations of educators and aspiring teachers find themselves as individuals, as well as principled change agents in their communities.
“Pray about your purpose and reason for working in education,” she said. “Then, reach out to people who are still working in education so you can gain relevant knowledge about the field. Further, I'd suggest investigating how you want to truly impact the lives of others. TFA offers awesome opportunities and resources that are unique to the TFA mission, so it's extremely important that a person have a strong understanding of their own "why" in order to benefit from the TFA community.”