People are called to become educators at different points in their lives and careers, and for different reasons. In the podcast linked below, Dr. Mark Milliron, former SVP of the School of Education visits with three diverse WGU Teachers College alumni having a positive social impact on their communities through education. “This is a powerful, purpose-driven pathway,” said Milliron. “We want to shine a light today on a few of our graduates who got this call and are committed to this noble cause of educating others.”
Listen as these three graduates talk about their unique reasons for why they wanted to become educators, and how they discovered this calling at different points in their careers. They’ll share what important events or learnings happened along their career paths up to today, from staying open to non-traditional pathways and life’s twists and turns, to the value of earning graduate degrees for improved skills and expertise, as well as improved earnings. And then, enjoy their timely and wise advice to rising teachers entering the profession this year. Their messages provide valuable mentoring to all new educators, from realizing how many of your life experiences can translate to valuable learnings in your classrooms, to the importance of thought partners sharing the journey.
In September 2020, WGU alumna Jillian Hernandez was named a top five finalist for the 2021 Arizona Educational Foundation Teacher of the Year. As part of her platform, Hernandez focuses on social justice and meeting the needs of diverse populations across Arizona. Her school is trilingual, offering education in English, Spanish and Diné (the language and name the ‘Navajo’ use to refer to themselves.) Hernandez has said that she bases her work on her belief that education can and should be an act of social justice.
WGU alumnus and Boise, Idaho, native Sean Boston was recently recognized in Washington, D.C., as one of the top science teachers of the year with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science. Boston was one of only 100 science, math, and technology teachers recognized by the White House for the 2017 school year. Sean is a first-generation college graduate growing up in a blue-collar family. He originally earned his degree in engineering and then decided after working as an engineer that he wanted a greater connection to his community. He felt teaching was his calling and has been loving the role ever since he entered his classroom. He currently teaches high school Physics.
After graduating with her bachelor’s degree, Tracy married her college sweetheart and began a career in corporate America while starting a family. About seven years into her corporate job, she realized she was training everyone at her company and came to accept that teaching was her calling. She returned for a master’s degree and with lots of support from her family, graduated and started teaching. She taught in two large urban school districts before moving to public charter schools where she is now serving as an assistant principal.