Laureen Wimbley is an Advanced Teacher on YES Prep’s Teacher Continuum and a recipient of the TFA Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching. She has taught 6th grade science at YES Prep Southwest for eight years. Below, she discusses what keeps her at YES Prep and why it’s important for teachers to reflect a diversity of backgrounds.
Tell us a little bit about your background.
I’m originally from Detroit, Michigan. I went to Howard University in Washington D.C. and graduated in 2006 with a degree in Human Development. I finished my master’s degree in education in 2007 and am a 2007 Houston Corps Member. YES Prep Southwest was my placement school and I’ve been a 6th grade science teacher all along. I’ve also been the 6th Grade Level Chair for five years.
What keeps you at YES Prep?
I work at YES Prep because of the students we serve. I’m from a low-income area and was the first in my family to attend college. When I was a kid, my mom wanted me to go somewhere other than the traditional public school. I was given the opportunity to attend a school that is very similar to YES Prep, so I identify with our students and want to support them and their families as they transition to YES Prep and begin climbing the mountain to college.
Why is it important for teachers to reflect a diversity of backgrounds at a school like YES Prep?
I think, for minorities and people of color, there’s an opportunity to serve as role models and to provide options to kids who may not, in a normal school system, see too many people who look like them or experience the things we offer at YES Prep.