Role: Learning Specialist
School: KIPP Whittier Middle
What drew you to working at KIPP New Jersey?
I’ve always been drawn to teaching approaches that put what’s best for kids first. There’s a shared mindset at KIPP that every teacher in the building wants to become better for their students, and that drew me in from day one.
I also loved KIPP New Jersey’s approach to leading teachers. There’s an emphasis on balancing both support and autonomy that offers teachers the freedom to make decisions, innovate, and be creative while receiving great coaching and support. Plus, it’s a culture that makes time for fun and celebrating our work, like at our annual TEAMspy employee appreciation event!
Tell us about your journey with KIPP New Jersey. How have you grown professionally since joining our schools?
Before moving to KIPP Whittier Middle, I worked for KIPP TEAM Academy in Newark as a general education science and mathematics teacher. I loved growing as a teacher and teaching STEM in Newark, but when I had the chance to teach at KIPP Whittier Middle in Camden, I also had the opportunity to redefine my teaching career. I transitioned to KIPP Whittier as a co-teacher and KIPP helped me earn my special education teaching certification through Relay Graduate School of Education.
I love being a math special education teacher because it means I can really dive deep into the subject matter and support student growth in a small group setting. I find it really interesting to discover how each student best learns the material, so I can creatively tailor my teaching to how they learn. It’s very rewarding.
I’m also fortunate to work in a place that really values professional development and growth. I have weekly check-ins with my supervisor, Marc Tan. He regularly observes my teaching and offers constructive feedback that helps me be a better teacher.
What does success look like in your role?
My overall goal is for my students to demonstrate growth and mastery in math learning. But I know that doesn’t happen in a vacuum; it’s all about developing strong partnerships with our families to support the whole child, which requires a commitment to their social-emotional health and their academic growth. When these elements come together, our students can learn anything!
Success to me as a teacher also means frequently collaborating with other educators in the building to strategize ways to support all learners and continuously grow as a teacher.