Unsung Hero: Valerie Brown

I was Ms. Brown’s first student teacher in her fifth grade science class.

Up to that point, I didn’t know what grade level I wanted to teach, but after two days with Ms. Brown, I was hooked on fifth grade.

I was supposed to be there for ten weeks, jumping in to teach my own lessons about halfway through. Ms. Brown had so much confidence in me, that by week two, I was leading the class!

Her quiet guidance, mental strength, and spot-on wisdom helped me complete my ten week placement with flying colors.

She encouraged, coaxed, cajoled and even fussed at me the whole way through and I loved every minute of it. I wanted to continue teaching with her in the fifth grade, but there were no positions open. Before the end of the school year, I was offered a position at a neighboring school…in the fifth grade!

Believe me, the lessons Ms. Brown taught me about myself and about education were part of my daily routine.

Currently, I am an assistant principal in a K-5 building, working on my Ed.D. in education.

I am convinced that my experiences with Ms. Brown helped me to become the educator that I am.

And, for the past 19 years, I have always been thankful that she believed in me enough for me to believe in myself.

What are 5 characteristics or qualities that make Valerie an outstanding educator?

  1. The courage to be herself and to help others stand in their own truths.
  2. A true belief that positive relationships—not rules—can change the life of a child.
  3. The ability to not take life so seriously and laugh! It is refreshing!
  4. A warm personality that makes even the toughest students trust her implicitly.
  5. A hard-earned wisdom about life and love that transcends any lesson plans.

Valerie Brown, Teacher at Julian Middle School, is being recognized by Saundra Russell-Smith (Assistant Principal, Singleton Elementary School).

Click the above image for more information about Unsung Hero Week 2017.

To support KDP’s work to retain effective teachers like Valerie, make a tax-deductible donation today.

One thought on “Unsung Hero: Valerie Brown

  1. michael mckinney says:

    It’s unfortunate to hear so many people extolling the virtues of education and teaching. When they do, to many self-references usually follow, as if their comments are an attempt to describe and mostly validate their own experiences. I’m not trying to make a provocative statement. Here’s my point; when someone uses the word education everyone hearing most always nods their head in agreement but education and learning are two different things.. Follow the Chinese dictum that suggests 90 percent of wisdom is getting things by their correct name
    Education has mostly to do with the outward social structures and political institutions that support the attainment of certain goals, primary among them is producing populations of young people who are mentally competent and socialized to be good citizens.
    Learning is something different. It has more to do with subjective curiosity and the minds innate tendency to take in as much knowledge as it can. I’m foursquare behind school personnel getting paid a good salary, but generally speaking, we have enough education. We need more learning. They are not the same.
    Another word that has considerable potential to obfuscate this issue is the word “teacher”. Why? Consider it from the child’s viewpoint. Which is more appealing; being taught or learning? Which is more inviting; being shown something to be learned or participating with a learning assistant in the adventure of learning something new?
    Being taught (teaching) is a process that directs curriculum from an outward source to the students mind and hopefully attentive imagination. It’s an outward to inward process. Learning is more of an inward to outward experience driven by the innate curiosity of the child. It will always be the dominant and preferred mode of acquiring knowledge. We should strive to perfect the LEARNING experience not the TEACHING experience. Let those valued members of that honorable profession begin thinking of themselves as learning assistants.

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