Reach for the moon, even if you fall short, you will land among the stars.
I have been teaching for as long as I can remember. I was the child who asked for a podium and plan book for Christmas. I grew up as the oldest of three girls in Richmond, Virginia, and I played school with imaginary students every single day. I started my first business at the age of nine as a reading tutor for kindergarten students in my neighborhood. I was so excited to finally get my first teaching job as a second-grade teacher in Richmond Public Schools. On my very first day with students, I learned how gun violence affects the community and that many of my students read significantly below grade level. Both of these issues are not unique to Richmond. I was determined to make an impact in the lives of my students. While teaching full time, I went back to school to earn my master’s degree in Literacy and Culture. Reading opens doors; I wanted to give my students opportunity despite their zip codes and circumstances.
I learned so much from seven-year-olds over the course of five years. They inspired me to write songs and stories to support literacy and learning. I published my first children’s book, Amy’s Travels, after teaching a unit on the seven continents. Then, I realized that my purpose in the world should reach beyond my elementary school classroom. I started a company to originally market the book, which provided me opportunities to speak to fellow educators including an event with the Washington Football Club. My idea for Tackle Reading, a book and movement, was born. 2022 marks the 6th annual event supported by the NFL to promoting a love of literacy with a passion for football in inner-city elementary schools around the country. Today, I am a teacher of a much larger classroom.