We continue our look at the APS Teachers of the Year with a mini-profile of the Elementary School Teacher of the Year, Morningside Elementary‘s Rachel Willis.
In college, Willis co-founded Students Take Action for New Directions (STAND), a national organization whose mission focused on empowering young women to become politically active and to promote peace, equality, and social change. As an activist, Willis frequently lobbied Congress. During her meetings on Capitol Hill, Willis encouraged lawmakers to make education a priority in the federal budget.
Because of her commitment to education, Willis joined Teach for America and also was hired as a teacher for APS. Although the Teach for America obligation lasted only two years, Willis decided to continue her career as an educator and attend Agnes Scott College to pursue a teaching certification in early childhood education. She graduated in 2006.
Willis has spent her teaching career working in SRT-3. She was a faculty member at Toomer Elementary, Cook Elementary, and Whitefoord Elementary before joining the staff at Morningside. Willis has demonstrated amazing leadership qualities in several ways in her two-year tenure as a member of the Morningside staff. Since 2007, she has served as a grade-level co-chair, design team representative, PTA executive board member, and school curriculum committee member. She was also influential in encouraging the school to purchase Promethean boards for the classroom. Now, all third- through fifth-grade classrooms are outfitted with this cutting-edge technology!
Willis continuously strives to improve her teaching skills, and will earn her master’s in educational leadership from Columbia University next year. Her goal is to continue to impact student achievement within and beyond the walls of her classroom.