The Tomorrow’s Teachers Series celebrates the students and teachers of New Orleans’ “Grow Your Own” programs, a part of the state’s “Grow Your Own” Initiative. These initiatives seek to find great teachers locally, developing communities’ young people to become educators in their own school system. At NSNO, we are raising funds to support these programs. Currently, three New Orleans schools – Booker T. Washington High School, John F. Kennedy High School, and Warren Easton Charter High School are involved. We hope the work can expand to more high schools soon, as we feel it is a crucial part of finding strong new teachers and ending the crisis in teacher recruitment and retention in our city. 

 In this series, we will highlight current New Orleans public school students who are part of this program, as well as the teachers helping them prepare for that future. We’ll also meet school team members, like paraprofessionals, who are preparing for roles as full-time teachers.  

Scarlet Cornelius: KIPP New Orleans

Scarlet Cornelius is the director of post-secondary strategy and programming at KIPP New Orleans. Cornelius leads a cohort of students that are a part of the KIPP New Orleans Schools Alumni Teaching Force. While in the program, students get the chance to test out a career in education. They are student-teachers while in high school and continue the program in college with summer teaching internships led by Scarlet, her team, and partner schools. You can learn more about Ms. Cornelius and the bright future educators she teaches here.

Booker T. Washington: Kierra Daniels and Kenyel Johnson

Kierra Daniels and Kenyel Johnson are Booker T. Washington alums that are looking forward to becoming future educators in New Orleans. They are both members of the KIPP Alumni Teaching Force. Daniels and Johnson are on track to do amazing things for the next generation of youth. You can learn more about these young ladies here.

Warren Easton Charter High School: Destinee Jolly and Jasmine Mulder

Warren Easton Charter High School seniors, Destinee Jolly and Jasmine Mulder are exploring the school’s pre-education pathway. Both young ladies dedicate their time to helping with the kindergarten class at Morris Jeff Elementary School, while also lending a helping hand to Warren Easton’s freshman academy. Their passion for education started with each young lady’s parents, and they are picking up the torch. You can learn more about these promising soon to be graduates here.

John F. Kennedy High School: Jakeim Matthews and Sahaan Bickham

John F. Kennedy alums, Jakeim Matthews and Sahaan Bickham, have taken a hands-on approach when it comes to educating the youth. They are both a part of KIPP New Orleans Alumni Teaching Force Program, which would guarantee them a job as an educator in NOLA upon graduating. Matthews and Bickham are using their life experiences, knowledge and passion to connect with and help the younger generation succeed academically. They are doing amazing things and have such a bright future ahead of them. You can read more about these powerful young men here.

REACH University

Reach University looks to adults already in school buildings–like paraprofessionals, bus drivers, cafeteria staff, coaches, or support staff–who often play a huge role in children’s lives. These team members have strong relationships with students and are integral parts of the school community. Some may want to be classroom teachers, and they’d be powerful ones–but they don’t yet have the college degree they need to become one. Reach is built to help school support staff members earn the bachelor’s degree they need to teach. Their courses are “job-embedded,” which means students get credit for learning on the job, and additional coursework is flexible, online, and offered on evenings and weekends. Thanks to federal grants and financial aid, it costs just $75 a month for books, fees, and materials for each person who enrolls. Depending on whether if students have existing credit or an associate’s degree, they can graduate with their bachelor’s degree in two to four years. They can also earn an elementary education teaching certification through Reach, or move on to one of the strong local teacher certification providers in our area, like Xavier University, Tulane University, or TeachNOLA. To read more about Reach and to find out how to apply, click here.

Building Community with Tomorrow’s Teachers

Students from the “Grow Your Own” programs at Booker T. Washington High School, McDonogh #35 Senior High School, The Rooted School, John F. Kennedy High School ,Frederick A. Douglass High School, and Warren Easton Charter High School came together to practice “restorative circles.” They learned key practices in conflict resolution and built community across schools. Taylor Williams, NSNO’s Director of Talent, wrote a firsthand account of what it was like to join students for this important work.