Students hear from pros during Lopes Teach Up Week

Junior elementary education majors Ellie Potkonjak, left, and Hailey Alderton visit with representatives from more than 40 Valley educational institutions at the Lopes Leap To Teach and Lead event on Prescott Field. (Photo by Ralph Freso).

It’s been a big week to be at teacher-in-training at Grand Canyon University.

Lopes Teach Up Week included the College of Education Dean’s Speaker Series on Tuesday that featured award-winning alumni and Wednesday’s Lopes Leap to Teach and Lead career event on Prescott Field that connected students with educational organizations.

The week is designed to “uplift the teaching profession,” said COE Faculty Chair Dr. Alicia Kozimor.

At Tuesday’s Zoom panel discussion, three winners of a national Milken Educator Award, known as the “Oscars of teaching,” shared insights with more than 140 students and faculty from across the country. They all earned master’s degrees at GCU.

Melissa Martin reacting to her Milken award.

Melissa Martin, a principal at Chinle Junior High School in Chinle, Arizona, in the heart of the Navajo Nation, went to that same school as a child and said it’s fun to be able to tell her students, “If I did it you can do it.”

“Now my two children come to Chinle Unified School District, so I am very invested. … “I see the beauty of my people. I see the strength of my people. My husband always likes to say we know how to turn obstacles into opportunities.”

Martin offered advice for teachers returning to their home school to teach.

“One of best parts of going back to a community is you definitely see how that community contributed to your success. If you are coming back that means you have a degree or did something to help yourself.

Aga Cook reacting to her Milken award.

“One of the best things are you already know people who have helped you get to where you are, so leverage those relationships. Take advantage of those as you continue on as an educator.”

Aga Cook, who at first wanted to be a lawyer in Poland before coming to the U.S., was asked how legal skills transfer to the classroom, where today she is a fifth-grade teacher, curriculum coordinator and data coach at Camp Mohave Elementary School in Fort Mohave, Arizona.

“The fact I have a degree that is outside the field of education helps me to make good connections and see how important it is to incorporate in teaching real-life applications,” she said. “Because I was passionate about the court system, I thought I should start teaching my students about the career pathways. …

“Because my dream to become a lawyer started in the fifth grade, I can see my students are very excited about things that seem appealing, and they are easily encouraged to some great life dream. I’m teaching my students over the last few years about participants in the courtroom, the litigation process, the verbiage in the courtroom.”

Ashley Meyer, a first and second grade teacher at Horizon Honors Elementary School in Phoenix, was asked about the unique aspects of teaching in a charter school.

Ashley Meyer reacting to her Milken award.

“I was hesitant to accept the job offer because I didn’t fully understand charter schools. I’m glad I took the chance. What makes charter school unique is the sense of the community. I really found my community at my school.

“I think that is because parents are choosing to send their children there, or they have siblings or they have gone to the school there, so they are really involved in the kids’ education. Everyone just feels really connected.”

She said students have opportunities to take classes of different grade levels for classes, based on their skills, which wasn’t always the case when she worked in a public school.

Wednesday’s event on Prescott Field featured more than 40 educational organizations, where students could meet potential employers, get a professional headshot or even conduct a job interview.

Grand Canyon University senior writer Mike Kilen can be reached at [email protected]

***

Related content:

GCU News: GCU alums capture top national educator award for third straight year

GCU News: Alumna wins prestigious national educator award

Calendar

Calendar of Events

M Mon

T Tue

W Wed

T Thu

F Fri

S Sat

S Sun

0 events,

0 events,

1 event,

0 events,

6 events,

3 events,

2 events,

0 events,

3 events,

3 events,

3 events,

3 events,

2 events,

0 events,

0 events,

2 events,

5 events,

0 events,

0 events,

1 event,

2 events,

0 events,

0 events,

GCU Magazine

Bible Verse

David said to Michal, "It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when He appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel — I will celebrate before the Lord. (2 Samuel 6:21)

To Read More: www.verseoftheday.com/