Program Brings Teachers To Oklahoma's High-Need Schools

Wednesday, September 19th 2018, 7:36 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

Teach for America has placed hundreds of teachers into some of Oklahoma's toughest schools.

Across Oklahoma, there are about 90 Teach for America Corp. members teaching right now, and a majority of those are in Oklahoma City public schools.   

Symone Richard was born and raised in Houston Texas. She has her undergraduate degree in psychology and a master’s degree in counseling. Teaching wasn't always part of the equation. But when she started thinking about a career in the classroom, a colleague told her about Teach for America.

“Once I read that mission statement and read that vision I was like Oh, this sounds so much like me,” said Richard.

She's now in her second year of teaching at Capitol Hill High School.

The nationwide program recruits leaders from across the country to teach in the most high need schools. Only about 15 percent of those who apply are accepted into the program. Potential teachers are then put through a rigorous training program. They are given a stipend of up to $6,000/a year to pay of student loans and have to commit to teaching for at least two years.

“The truth is a ton of them stay in the classroom and have a lasting impact,” said Art Serna Jr, the Executive Director of Teach for America Oklahoma. “In every layer of education in Oklahoma we have alumni leading.”

Currently in Oklahoma, 62 Teach for America alumni are in leadership roles at schools.

As for Richard, she said she has every intention of staying.  

“I’m really committed to this work, and I’m really committed to building that foundation for our students to become better leaders,” said Richard.

Teach For America – Oklahoma City is the beneficiary of this year’s Redbud Classic. The Redbud run and cycling events are April 6 and 7, and proceeds will help Teach for America with its mission.