Mrs. Charity Turpeau
Mrs. Charity Turpeau is a veteran educator with over a decade of experience working with 5th, 6th, and 7th-grade students throughout Louisiana. The middle school math teacher enjoys enhancing students’ math skills through engaging lessons that tie in reality. Her energetic and passionate personality creates a learning environment that motivates students to reach their academic goals. Her support for creativity, consistency, and politeness gives additional attention to developing students’ characters. Her enthusiasm and preparation each day demonstrate her eagerness to inspire her students to reach new academic heights through hands-on experiences.
Her smile and enthusiasm to stimulate knowledge among her scholars does not come without pain. Mrs. Turpeau began fighting major health battles at the tender age of nine. Charity was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes, which caused cataracts in both eyes, high blood pressure, kidney failure and poor blood circulation. Even with several health complications, Charity continued to move forward. She continued to bring her glowing smile to her classroom as she taught through pain. A number of her co-workers witnessed her in pain; however, all her students saw was her compelling charm, which inspired them to learn. In March of 2018, Charity received the news that she would receive a kidney and pancreas transplant. The announcement of the transplant was joyous news as it would solve all of her health issues and give her more time to share her love for learning and teaching.
Mrs. Turpeau has an infectious smile that lights up a room, an infectious personality that inspires and motivates students to learn. Mrs. Turpeau is a true educator who shined through difficult times to ensure she could inspire, empower, and educate our students.
Ms. Keisha Kirkwood
Ms. Keisha Kirkwood is an award winning ninth grade Biology teacher at Beaumont United High School in Beaumont, TX. With passion and determination, Ms. Kirkwood has continued to improve the quality of instruction for minority students for the past nine years. The data driven teacher, believes in creating a positive and supportive classroom environment where students are physically safe and mentally engaged. As quoted by Ms. Kirkwood, “Together the students and I set realistic academic goals. The goals empower students to take control of their educational journey as I engage them in rigor.”
Ms. Kirkwood believes the rigor in her classroom prepares students to succeed in all STEM career fields. With an eagerness to improve instruction, in her spare time, Ms. Kirkwood writes state and district science curriculum as she continues to use her knowledge and skills to develop challenging lesson plans to advance students academically. When she is not leading in the classroom, Ms. Kirkwood collaborates with other educators as an inspiring mentor. She also actively participates in her community and church as she believes in her civic responsibilities.
What advice would you share with aspiring educators?
Aspiring educators should understand that everyday is a learning experience and to never be afraid to ask questions. Collaboration with other educators is vital. Find a mentor teacher and connect with that person for resources. Develop positive relationships with your students and always teach with passion and enthusiasm.
Who are you inspiring?
The purpose of a mentor is not only to focus on increasing the student’s academic performance, but also focus on improving the student’s emotional and social skills. A mentor should create a positive and healthy relationship with the mentee as he/she provides emotional support that will inspire the child to go beyond their capabilities. In a toxic society where pain is masked with materialistic virtues, social media and violent behaviors, we may find it difficult to heal our youth. However, two educators (coaches) in Louisiana have found a way to inspire their students to achieve in the classroom and on the field.
Coach Jabain August
Coach Jabain August is a former Vermillion Parish athletic standout that graduated from Northwestern State University. As a youth leader within his church and community, Coach August knew he wanted to share his love for sports with children. Currently, as the head football, basketball and track coach at Acadian Middle School, Coach August has seen much success within his athletic programs. As district champions in various sports, standout players continue to give their success to Coach August as some describe him as the father they’ve long to have.
Coach August youthful spirit connects to students as he recognizes their struggles. He demonstrates leadership as he leads by example not only exemplifying the role of a coach, but the role of a young African American male. He strengthens his player’s athletic skills as he also focuses on improving their character as he inspires each player to learn and demonstrate skills and characteristics that will deem them as a leader with the classroom, on the field, and in the community. Coach August reminds his students daily, “What is a cougar? Cougars are young men that are courageous as they prey on their goals that will lead to victory. They do not go around them or over them, they go through them.” Are you a cougar?
Mr. Jonathan “JP” Phillips
Jonathan Phillips, is a Southern University A & M graduate, who is originally from Houston, TX. The former college football player gravitates towards America’s unspoken truth, as he teaches his students about African American icons. Described by his students as a young Marcus Garvey, Mr. JP strives to lead by example as he tells the untold truth of African American civilization. The inspiring history teacher demonstrate leadership and emotional stability, as he provides students with creative ways to express their pain and desire to be leaders within their communities. Mr. JP provides his students with a healthy masculine figure, as he narrates stories of Huey P Newton, Zora Neale Hurston, Henrietta Lacks and W.E.B. DuBois.
On the field, the football and track coach has inspired his students through dedication and hard work, as he believes in their athletic abilities. As a third year coach, Mr. JP has traveled with his students to combines as well as college and campus visits. This year, Mr. JP has coached two of seniors to success, as they will be playing college football in the fall (Baylor University). As described by one of his students, Mr. JP goes above and beyond what he asked to do. The young coach inspires and uplifts his students, as he understands the struggles of being young, hurt and misunderstood. His personal experiences in life help him to elevate his students as he aspires to encourage, motivate and uplift a community that has been plague with violence and emotional trauma as he fills the void with hope and dignity.
Ms. Nyesha Trusty, MSEd.
Ms. Trusty, is an exceptional educator who leads with integrity and grit. The unconventional 8th grade English educator, teaches her students about racial and social injustice, while developing their character and writing skills. She inspires the educational dream by supporting her students (The Trusty Tribe) unique identities, interests and ideas. Her positive attitude and unorthodox teaching skills, inspires 21st century learners to be informed leaders who will make a social impact within their communities.
Why did you want to become an educator?
I was inspired to become a teacher by my little sister and brother. At about 10 years old, my sister’s love for school and learning was so vivid but the educational resources she was provided at her elementary school in Queens, NY were sparse and dim. Meanwhile, my little brother- also 10 at the time- was growing up with my mom in Crofton, MD and benefitting from some of the best educational resources in the nation. Witnessing educational inequity so close to home lit a fire within me that is still ablaze 5 years later. I felt then, and still feel, a personal responsibility to provide adequate exposure and quality education to all children so that students like my sister are promised the same educational freedom as those with circumstances similar to my brother.
What does the educational dream mean to you? How do you create a positive educational experience within your classroom (or outside your classroom) to ensure students have the opportunity to grow socially, emotionally and academically?
Education is an outlet for students to explore their unique identities, interests, and ideals with help from teachers who love and affirm them. For me, the educational dream means equitable access to academic and social resources that help students develop their own personal passions and purpose, while finding their place in the world.
The Trusty Tribe is an oasis where students are safe to learn, take risks, and form positive relationships with others. Collaboration is at the core of everything we do. Students embrace our Tribe as a family with a collective mission and purpose and see themselves as vital, valued members. Every voice is relevant and respected. As we build upon the foundation of teamwork within our classroom, we also take strategic steps to unpack and explore the world outside of our walls. Books serve as a portal through which students are transported to lands vastly different from their own. It is my goal that in each lesson, students encounter material that reinforces their sense of personal identity, exposes them to new cultures, and empowers their academic advancement.