My passion for education is why I do what I do. It’s why I work at Blackboard. In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, I wanted to share a little bit about two teachers I had that helped me find that passion.

As an army brat, we moved around every couple years, often in the middle of a school year. This meant that I was often going into a new place with new people – and into a classroom that had learned something different than I had for the first part of the year. I was incredibly lucky to have many, many teachers who took a vested interest in making sure I was integrated into the classroom and ready to learn. It all started with Ms. Nickels in the first grade at Ft. Benning. I had come into the class in the middle of the year after living in Germany, and she worked not just with me, but also with my Mom, to make sure that I had the tools I needed to be up-to-speed with the rest of my classmates.

A few years later, I landed in a high school in the South. At the time it was often “expected” that girls were not good at science or math – and it wasn’t “cool” for them to be.  This was my experience until I got into Mr. Blake’s high school chemistry class. Mr. Blake pushed and challenged me, and everyone else in my class, to extend beyond our comfort zone.  He showed us that science is fun – and cool.  And that all of us should embrace our knowledge and aptitudes.

Ms. Nickels: Thank you for caring. Thank you for taking the time to help a single student when you had a whole classroom to take care of.

Mr. Blake: Thank you for encouraging me to learn with my hands and with my mind. And thank you for making it cool for girls to be good at science.

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