We are excited to shine a major spotlight on a special group. A group of influencers, entrepreneurs and creatives locally as well as across the country that just make content…cool. These men and women are masters of ideas and curation; they are our tastemakers. They are the kings and queens of influence and originality and because of that, we call them The Influentials.
Executive Director, Discovery Learning Academy
GameChanger: Discovery Learning Academy, Inc. was established in 2011 and our mission is to promote STEM education at the preschool level. It’s important for students to be presented the same material in different settings and through different lenses. The traditional approach of teaching topics in isolation does not support the ways that children learn the best. I currently serve as director for the Discovery Mathematics & Science Academy, a private preschool under DLA,Inc. In addition to operating Discovery Mathematics & Science Academy, I have also been fortunate enough to present at several early childhood conferences where I provide training that educates early childhood centers on the various ways to incorporate science experiments in their curriculum. In the next few years, I plan to complete my PhD in Curriculum Instruction specializing in Early Childhood Education and use my knowledge to influence science instruction in preschool education.
Neighborhood: Desoto, TX
Are you a Texas native? Tell us a little bit more about your family. I was born and raised in Elizabeth, New Jersey. My parents, who are Haitian immigrants, were surprised to add twins to their family of five. Despite having only a high school education, my parents instilled that education was the first step to succeeding in life. At 22, I graduated from Rutgers University and moved to Texas where I earned my master’s degree at Texas Woman’s University. I have been married for 11 years to Rodney Brown and have two children, Kennedy 11 and Chase 7.
What does an average day in the classroom look like for your students? An average day at Discovery consists of morning devotion, prayer and circle time. Students get to share their thoughts for the day and are introduced to the day’s science theme. They are then divided to centers for independent work and small group lessons with their teacher. Students are able to explore their creativity in the art & writing center, explore mathematics using blocks, counters and stamps and participate in science experiments. At the end of the day, they come back together for closure and discuss what they learned and discovered.
What challenges have you faced as an educator in Dallas? One of my biggest challenges as an educator is the time you have to teach. Often, we become stressed by the demands of performing well on the standardized tests and at times, lose the joy of teaching young learners. I often found myself losing students because we are moving so quickly trying to expose them to various objectives and they are not afforded the time to master each skill. Unfortunately, the demands of testing can limit the amount of creativity in the classroom. As teachers, I wish we were allotted the time to deeply engage in a topic and explore all its possibilities.
What or whom inspires your ambition? Today’s youth inspires my ambition. Without them, I would not have the desire to teach and provide an education that is engaging, forward thinking, but most importantly, creative and fun. The first five years of a child’s life are the most critical education a toddle can receive from their parent, caregivers and the environment around them. It is our goal at Discovery Learning Academy that we offer quality instruction that will mold our youth into lifelong learners.
What are your top 4 tips for parents of children with additional learning needs?
- Be patient. All children learn, but some learn at their own pace. Don’t expect your child to pick up new concepts the first time they are introduced. If they don’t get it the first time, try, try and try again.
- Be creative. Students with special learning needs do not process information in the same manner as their fellow counterparts in the classroom. Try presenting information with music, movement or visuals. Introducing new material in a different manner gives them an opportunity to see it from a different vantage point.
- Be consistent. Having a schedule helps students learn what to expect. Children with learning needs can become frustrated when their routine changes.
- Be concrete. Not all learners can visualize information. Students with learning needs require tangible or concrete representation such as counters to count or pictures to correspond with vocabulary.
Where Do You Go For Fun? Locally or Nationally? I am a total Jersey girl so I never forget to visit the Jersey Shore when I’m there. Locally, I enjoy family friendly places like Dallas Children Theater and Klyde Warren Park.
A COMMUNITY OF INFLUENCE.
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