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Happy TFA Teacher Appreciation Week!

This week, we celebrated our corps and alumni educators with community celebrations, care packages, and a campaign to share the impact of their daily dedication to Mississippi's students. Learn more about 5 Teach For America teacher-leaders.

By The TFA Editorial Team

May 11, 2018

To honor our amazing network of educators, we asked our corps members, alumni, and staff to shout out their peers' efforts to empower students, pursue equity, demonstrate humility and partnership, and commit to life-long leadership in our communities. What follows is in their words - true teacher-to-teacher appreciation!

“Maya was so great in the midst of the Jackson water crisis this year, and devoted her time out of school to ensuring that students had access to nutrition. She also took on coaching tennis and led her team to a 4-2 record. Maya is constantly thinking about ways to better her school and larger community in a way that is incredible inspiring.”

Maya May ('17)

"Hannah Boyd ['16] single-handedly organized and executed a 'Community Helpers Day' for kindergarten and first grade students at Byhalia Elementary School. She invited community members to come and present about their lives and work. She had policemen and policewomen, the mayor, dentists, nurses, construction workers and so many more. It was the first time Byhalia Elementary School had ever done something like that and I was so happy that the students and teachers enjoyed it so much! That is a true example of dedication and passion in the context of making school relevant, authentic, and accessible for our rural students!"

Nick Onyshko (14): "Nick is currently finishing his 4th year at his original placement school, and is planning on staying for a 5th. Not only is he a dedicated math teacher. He is the cross country coach, who has been active in bringing his team to various 5ks throughout Mississippi - including the river marathon. He has also been volunteering as a leader in a male mentoring group for middle school and high school boys in Greenwood. Mr. O is known throughout the Greenwood community as a teacher who cares and is committed to the improvement of his students. He is an example of a Teach For America teacher going above and beyond in his community."

“Anna Catharine Sedlak ('16) "was well on her way to 1.5 years of reading growth for her 1st grade students but was called to action right before Spring Break. Her administrator asked her to move to a 3rd grade class to become their teacher due to extenuating circumstances. Anna Catharine graciously moved to a new room in a new hallway with a smile and desire to help even more kids grow in reading. Maybe a week after Spring Break, her new students were working in reading centers on writing skills, independent reading skills, close reading skills, and vocabulary skills. You wouldn't know that she had been their teacher for only 2 weeks. She is eager to help students continue to find joy in reading books on their grade level and books that meet their interests."”

Anna Catharine Sedlak ('16)

Kenya Samuel ('17): "Kenya has pushed herself and her Pre-K students in the classroom this year to engage in critical dialogue around racial and gender identity, empowering students to celebrate their culture, history, and community. Her students have also engaged in a "Love Rocks" project to promote encouragement and positivity in their school. Not only is her classroom culture on fire, Kenya's students are also showing-out academically. So far her students have grown 1.4 years in writing, 1 year in reading, and trending around 1.5 years of learning for math mastery. For her students, there is essentially no "achievement gap." Students know their individualized learning goals and have taken in upon themselves to uphold their classroom community and positive culture. It's a true joy to be in her classroom and engage with her students."

Be sure to check out our daily threads from #TFATeacherAppreciationWeek for more stories of impact!

Thank you for helping us champion the efforts of our teachers and the brilliance of the students they teach - today and every day!