Washington D.C. Teacher Overcame Homelessness & Profound Loss To Become City’s Teacher Of The Year

May 8, 2019  |  

Close-Up Of Pencils In Jar Against Blackboard

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Lakeisha Brown’s story marks a remarkable journey about a woman who made a path for herself in spite of the tremendous odds she faced.

In December Brown was named as D.C. Public School’s Teacher Of The Year, an honor that she holds with high esteem. On Wednesday news outlet WJLA visited her classroom to observe her delightful essence, of which was one of the many reasons why she was chosen for the honor.

“A girl from a small town who had a really rough upbringing could possibly win too. I didn’t count myself out,” Brown told WJLA.

Brown teaches at Lafayette Elementary School located in the Chevy Chase neighborhood of Washington D.C. The school is also the city’s largest elementary school.

She says she opts for an unconventional method in teaching, one that encourages her students to lead the class and ask questions among one another.

“Some of the children who are shy and reserved don’t have their voices heard, she said. “So I started selecting them just to make sure that they are also coming out of their shell as well.”

When Brown was younger she lost her mother to AIDS and spent a majority of her youth caring for her mother, while juggling her schoolwork until her mother unfortunately succumbed to the disease.

“I grew up in a household where my mom was dying of AIDS,” she said. “People who were your friends were no longer allowed to be your friends and we became that family. I was teased, and I was bullied, and I struggled.”

“Being up the night before and taking care of a sick parent. My teachers were always mad that I was late. They didn’t take the time to give me a moment,” Brown said. “My number one goal is my kids know before we even start our day that they can get a hug first. If they are late, I’m not going to rush them in. I’m going to embrace them because

She says that teachers often discredited her and treated her as if she was less than. Her hunger for education often times went uncultivated by teachers and administrators.

“They counted me out,” Brown said. “They didn’t put a lot of focus on African Americans, and that we could go to college or push us to take AP classes.”

She spends her days cultivating the growth of children, many of whom who look like to her as a pillar of positivity and a source of knowledge.

“I told myself I want to be a teacher that counts every child, who thinks that everyone can make it,” Brown said.

As Black teachers become a decreasing presence in American classrooms, Brown’s story serves as inspiration for many men and women of color who have an interest in education to remain filled with the passion to lead and cultivate other youth.

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