Hannah Powell, Class of 2003
Working Toward Eliminating Education Inequity
Upon graduation, Hannah Powell knew she “wanted to do something that would allow me to make a significant impact on the lives of others.”
I began to realize more fully the change agent I had the power to be,” she said.
Once she learned about Teach for America, her post-graduate pursuit became clear. “The more I learned about the outrageous educational inequities that exist for children in our country, I felt committed and called to embark on a journey that would position me to make an immediate impact on underserved students.
After graduation she was selected from a competitive field of candidates to join Teach for America. For the next two years she taught in one of Philadelphia’s 20 worst performing and most violent schools – and loved every minute of it.
Powell’s experience with her students in Philadelphia shaped her future career choices.
“The more I learn about educational inequity, the more I want to keep working toward eliminating the inequities that exist,” she said. “This knowledge and awareness is what makes me interested in working with children from challenged backgrounds within the context of a learning community.”
She continues to follow her passion today as director of education services for a non-profit charter management organization called Keys to Improving Dayton Schools Inc. (k.i.d.s.), which manages charter school operations.
All children deserve the opportunity to have access to a quality education – regardless of race, socio-economic status and geographic location,” she said. “Children deserve to have high behavioral and academic expectations set for them, and students deserve mentors and leaders who will hold them accountable.
Powell is working toward the k.i.d.s. strategic mission. “To turn around some of our state’s most troubled schools and create a cluster of high- performing schools within Ohio.
Ideally, within the next two years, provisions in the teacher licensure program will allow a teacher training program, such as Teach for America, to exist in Ohio,” she said. By far, guiding individual students to higher levels of academic mastery and witnessing the self-confidence that consequently emerges when students have high expectations set for them and then [the students] reach them, is by far the most powerful and rewarding experience I have had.”