Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Meet Our New Teach For America Recruits

Ten young adults have joined Spring Branch ISD as Teach For America (TFA) corps members and new educators. TFA is a nonprofit organization that recruits recent college graduates to teach for at least two years in school communities across the nation with lower than average family incomes.

Teaching in SBISD schools this year with TFA are Tannya Benavides (Terrace Elementary), Alice Bennett (Cedar Brook Elementary), Robert Bujosa (Northbrook High), Brittany Carr (Northbrook High), Cassandra Freudenberger (Ridgecrest Elementary), Joanna Lopez (Northbrook Middle), Alex Montes-Torres (Northbrook Middle), Andrea Nelson (Spring Oaks Middle), Michelle Nguyen (Ridgecrest Elementary) and Asley Petryszak (Spring Shadows Elementary). (See photo)

Several of these new TFA corps members shared details about their lives, as well as their hopes and dreams for this year, during the first weeks of the school year:

Alice “Honey” Bennett – A Nashville, Tenn., native, Honey graduated from Ensworth High School. In 2014, she earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala. She is teaching fifth-grade science at Cedar Brook Elementary.

I chose to join Teach For America because I love its goal and mission. Teach For America values closing the education gap and giving everyone an equal chance to receive a great education. Those goals align with my own personal and individual goals. By joining a program and being a part of something bigger than myself to reach that goal is something I’m really excited about. I want to help teach students in areas who really need that extra help in their education and that extra motivation to try their best, and to prove to them that they can get through both high school and college, and then be great at whatever they do.”

Robert Bujosa – A graduate of Riverside Poly High School in Riverside, Calif., Robert earned bachelor of science degrees in chemistry and environmental science from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. He teaches chemistry at Northbrook High School.

Brittany Carr – A California native, Brittany graduated from William J. “Pete” Knight High School in Palmdale, Calif. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), and is teaching English I and English II classes at Northbrook High School.

“I was blessed to go to an amazing college because I had parents and teachers that believed in me and my dreams. I chose TFA to inspire my students – to get them to and through college, to open their eyes to a world of possibilities after high school, and for them to have absolute confidence in me that I will be their biggest fan, always!”

Alex Montes-Torres – A San Diego native, Alex is a graduate of The Preuss School at the University of California-San Diego, a charter school is focused on helping low-income students get to and through college. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y. He’s a new teacher at Northbrook Middle School.

“Like some of the students here in Spring Branch, I came to the United States from Mexico as a young child knowing nothing about this country. School became my safe place. I can name every single teacher that made a significant impact on my dreams and aspirations. They inspired me to be better than I ever thought I could be. They taught me how to be a good citizen of this country. They taught me how to speak better English than some of my native-born peers!”

Andrea Nelson – A Hastings, Minn., native, Andrea attended Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. She studied political science, economics and global leadership there. Andrea is now teaching sixth-grade English Language Arts at Spring Oaks Middle School.

“I am really excited to learn more about my students through their writing, and to teach their impressionable minds about how important reading and writing will be in their education. You can learn so much about the world through reading and writing, and I am so lucky to experience this with my students!

“I want to be the great teacher to my students that I had in my educational experience. I want to help my students realize that they have the potential to shape our world, and that with hard work and determination, they can achieve what they set their mind to. Having the opportunity to help develop young, sixth-grade scholars is an opportunity I could not pass up!

Andrea also said, “I am so happy to be working in a district as unique and diverse as SBISD. It is clear that the sense of community in this district is strong and I do look forward to becoming a part of it.”


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