I am a proud graduate of the Saint Louis Public School district. My love for education began at an early age. One of my elementary teachers gave me her old red grading book for the summer, so I started a summer school program at my grandmother’s house. As a blossoming young teacher, I gave classroom assignments to all my family members and the animals living around my house. My family members told me I was tough but fair to all my summer school students. My summer school teaching approach was a model of the teaching behaviors I learned from the dedicated teachers at Cote Brilliante Elementary.
I was a recipient of teachers who cared, modeled academic excellence, and expected us to succeed. I hold dear my Sumner High School roots and the meaning of being a “Bulldog” for life. My high school alma mater left a trail of achievers who used their educational foundations to do exceptional things in our world. My goal in education is to model that Sumner pride of excellence for our students and show them the light of success.
I graduated from Sumner High School in 1985 and left Saint Louis for Dallas, Texas, to attend Bishop College. I completed my first degree in theological studies in 1990 and returned to Saint Louis in 1990. My second teaching opportunity came with the Normandy school district when I was afforded a long substitute teaching assignment to teach third grade. My substitute teaching experience inspired me to return to school and complete another bachelor’s degree in music education.
My third teaching opportunity was the position of choral music teacher at Jennings High School in 1996. After one year of teaching as a choral director, I was offered an elementary music teacher position at the Westside Christian Academy. I spent four years at the Westside Christian Academy, then, I accepted a position as senior pastor at the Prince of Peace Church. While serving as pastor at the Prince of Peace Church, I volunteered as an accompanist at Gateway and Vashon High Schools. Although I was no longer in the classroom full-time, our church was still engaged with our local schools through volunteerism endeavors. Members of our church read to students, prepared meals for the teachers, and mentored boys and girls through our Village mentoring program.
In 2021, I was led to return to the classroom because our district had a shortage of music teachers. Research has proven that students who participate in the arts boost their critical thinking skills, teaching them to be more careful and thorough in observing the world. I did not want students to miss out on the educational benefits that the arts assist students with through performance and musical and theatrical content comprehension. For instance, art education connects students with their culture and the wider world. The arts help reduce stress, improve memory, and increase confidence; social and emotional support ingredients are necessary for academic success. Thus, I returned to SLPS to assist in improving our fine arts, and I could not be happier.
In 2022, I was afforded the opportunity to become the artistic director at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School. My journey here has been simply amazing. Our fine arts teachers are passionate about student achievement in academics and the arts. I am amazed at the talents, abilities, and commitment of our students who want to succeed in the arts. Central is an exceptional place where students are growing and preparing to excel in the arts, and I am honored to be a part of that reality. I am honored to work with our parents, staff, and students in making Central one of the best high schools in the nation for student achievement because this is where “Arts and Academics meet at the center stage.”