The Teachers We're Thankful For

At EdNavigator, we see the difference that teachers make in the lives of students and families every day. Here are a few we're especially grateful for.

At EdNavigator, we see the difference that teachers make in the lives of students and families every day. For Teacher Appreciation Week this year, our team reflected on the teachers we’re especially thankful for.

We appreciate teachers who keep us connected

“When my first grade daughter writes something interesting, her teacher, Ms. Driscoll, snaps a photo with her phone and emails it to me and my wife instantly. It’s such a fun surprise. It makes us feel connected to what our daughter is doing and thinking. When she gets home, she is always so proud of herself - to have written something worth photographing.”

— Timothy Daly, Founding Partner

We appreciate teachers who show us the way

“Being a first-time parent is super stressful, especially when one works in the education field. As a result, I was a helicopter mom. Little did I know that paying too much attention was causing more harm than I anticipated. My daughter’s second grade teacher was the first brave soul to sit me down and shared with me how to help my child with homework and how my current methods affected other areas of her educational experience. Since that day, my daughter and I have had a much smoother homework experience and areas in which she struggled at school have vastly improved over the last two years. I have Mrs. Brown at Mahalia Jackson Elementary to thank.”

— Rameisha Johnson, Navigator

We appreciate teachers who lift students up

“Knowledge of self is always of the utmost importance when teaching students how to be their best selves. Ms. Lauren Watler has always embodied that. Take one step into her Washington, DC classroom and you'll be overwhelmed with pictures and quotes of inspirational leaders of color. She's a proud alum of a Historically Black College, Hampton University, and sings pride-filled chants each morning with her students that she learned in her undergraduate days. When the National Museum of African American History and Culture opened late last year, she used her connections to provide free tickets to not just some, but all of her students. In more than one space (home, school, and now community) her students can see people who have accomplished such great feats on behalf of our country thanks to Ms. Watler!”

— Whitney Henderson, Navigator in Chief

We appreciate teachers who raise the bar

“Students love teachers who hold them to high expectations; parents love them too. Teachers who day in and day out recognize and push students to meet their full potential. Quin Clemons is a teacher who does not hesitate to bring her students to new heights. She was not only my former colleague, but also my 7th grade Science teacher.

Ms. Clemons’ magic has always been her knack for authenticity with both students and parents. She makes it clear to parents from day one that she will never lower her bar for excellence. She reminds families of her time growing up in the segregated south, allowing parents and students to understand the impact that education can have on their lives. It is this level of vulnerability that allows her to be so effective. Parents know that she’s always coming from a place of love, so they become active partners in their child’s education. Being the recipient of those high expectations and ultimately someone who used those same teaching techniques alongside her has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I’m grateful that her vision for her students—myself included—never wavered.”

— Gary Briggs, Lead Navigator

We appreciate teachers who believe in every child

“Often, when we think of school-aged children, we imagine students playing in the schoolyard or sitting in desks with their hands raised. However, there is a group of students who don’t fit into the mainstream image of education. These children are in a class all their own… literally!

My mom, Emily Roubion has had the honor of working with students with moderate and severe mental and physical disabilities like Down’s syndrome, microcephalus, and traumatic brain injury for over 40 years. She made their lives a part of my life. As a child, I would visit her classroom and was taught to understand the needs of others. On weekends, one of her students would sometimes come shopping with us as a reward for a job well-done in school. It served as another opportunity to feel ‘normal’.

See, Mrs. Roubion made sure that her students received an education that met the state’s academic standards for her students, but also prepared them with practical lessons for life. She would teach them to “make groceries” by going through store ads and choosing what they needed for the week, and learn to budget while shopping. They would go to work in restaurants and stores, cutting up items for food prep, stocking retail shelves, and making boxes for pizza parlors – skills that translated into jobs after they finished school.

Even after her students go to prom and graduate, their parents still call my mom for advice, grateful for the “miracles” she has made of their children. Because of her, I’ve learned compassion, patience, acceptance, and love. She was my first teacher, and neither I, nor any of the many families with whom she’s worked, can appreciate her enough.”

— Tania Roubion, Navigator

We appreciate teachers who cheer our kids on

“This year was the first year our son took the state tests. The night before the first test, I got a phone call from his teacher, Nicada Blake, asking to speak with my son. "You have worked so hard for this, you know your stuff, you are going to do great. I am so proud of you," she told him. It meant so much to him—and to me—that she took the time to call. It made the testing process feel human, instead of mechanized.”

— Ariela Rozman, Founding Partner

We appreciate teachers who do whatever it takes

“The work of a teacher never stops. Even after a long day, it’s your job to analyze, investigate and research what actions could help make students even more successful. This passion is unique and describes a teacher by the name of Linda Duplessis. She is a veteran teacher of 34 years in the classroom and has always upheld this standard with grace. She understands the value of how much preparation is needed to be her best self when it’s time to instruct her students. Even if that means having her family help cut, staple and paste at the kitchen table to expedite the process. She does what it takes to get the job done.”

— Karen Johnston, Navigator

We appreciate teachers who care as much as we do

“Teachers don’t get nearly the credit they deserve in general, but I think that’s especially the case for preschool teachers, who are basically responsible for teaching a classroom of tiny egomaniacs how to learn when the kids can barely pull up their pants. My son’s preschool teacher, Ines Raja, is one who has somehow mastered the craft. She epitomizes the perfect balance of warmth and rigor. The kids adore her, and she greets every one with a giant hug in the morning. Then, it’s time to work. There is no fooling around with Ms. Ines. She’s taught them exactly what to do, and they get out their materials and clean up after themselves without a fuss. “I know you can do this,” she says, pushing them on to the next challenge. Best of all, she lets the parents in, always quick to send us a photo or update by text during the school day. On the weekends, we sometimes send her photos too, the way you do with family.”

— David Keeling, Founding Partner

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