“Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength of the nation.”
—John F. Kennedy
Each of us can point to a teacher who’s made a difference in our lives—someone who’s challenged us to live up to our potential, follow our dreams, discover our talents and how we can contribute to the world. This fall, we’re celebrating back-to-school with a focus on some UAA alumni who are now teachers. Preschool, public high school, Teach For America, or Americorps—Neelz Gharavi (’02, ’04), Blake Stevens (’09), Sue Ordonez (’08), Tim Harris (’10), and Angel Corral (’10)—shared what inspires them as teachers and how they apply those influences in the classroom. Maybe they’ll remind you of a teacher who’s inspired you.
Neelz Gharavi: Living by the words of Wayne Gretsky and Gandhi
Neeloufar “Neelz” Gharavi (’02, ’04) is an English teacher at Sequoia High School, a public alternative school in the Everett School District. This is her eighth year with the school, where she’s worked since she graduated from the UW Teacher Education Program in 2004.
Discover one of the best moments in her career.
Blake Stevens: Cool, but not too cool for school
Blake Stevens (’09) comes from a family of teachers. His mother was a public school teacher and his father was the assistant superintendent of the Bellingham School District. As a 4th and 5th grader he helped out in his mom’s kindergarten class and as he grew older, found he enjoyed helping others find solutions to their academic and life questions.
Learn what motivates Blake to find his dream.
Supanika “Sue” Ordonez: Preferring ‘difficult’ students
Supanika “Sue” Ordonez (’08), an international studies major, thought she would enter the professional world of international relations, having grown up around the world with her father, a United States diplomat. That changed for Sue after she began volunteering through Jumpstart.
Find out how Sue became a diplomat among preschoolers.
Tim Harris: Academic pride in Motor City
Tim Harris (’10), an Honors alumnus and former student employee of First Year Programs, is currently a volunteer with Teach For America in Detroit at the Marvin L. Winans Academy of Performing Arts. After receiving encouragement from friends and family to participate in Teach For America, and not having a solid post-graduation plan, he enrolled in Teach For America.
But he didn’t feel the inspiration to teach…yet.
Angel Corral: Speaking her truth in South LA
Angel Corral (‘10) is currently a first year teacher at a high school in Watts, South Los Angeles, California. She teaches biology and anatomy and physiology to 10th and 11th graders. She’s also in her last quarter of graduate school at UCLA, and will receive a master’s degree in urban education in December 2011.
Read what sign Angel has above her desk to inspire her students.