As our scholars, staff, and families enjoy the holiday season and winter break, we want to express our gratitude for everyone who is working together to build magical schools for our kids. You’ve created a community that wants for all children what we would want for our own; in fact, there are almost 60 of you who are so committed to our schools that you are both employees and Success Academy parents!
Years ago, our CEO and founder Eva Moskowitz decided that Success Academy schools were the best choice for her own children. Today, two of her three children attend Success Academy High School, and dozens of other staff members have made the same choice — and many parents were so enthusiastic about their children’s educational experience in SA schools that they decided to come to work here. Today, all of these SA staff/parents are driven not just by the dual mission of of SA, but their own personal dual mission of delivering an outstanding education for the children of all parents seeking great schools and for the people dearest to their hearts — their own children.
We asked our staff/parents to share some thoughts about what it’s like filling this special dual role. Here’s what they said!
Bonnie Shamblin, SA Lead Teacher, SA Bergen Beach
I think being a teacher and parent at Success Academy is a special experience that we both enjoy. My daughter Brooklyn and I can relate to each other more because of these shared experiences. For example, we share the unique SA language and can talk about things like spirals, Interim Assessments, corrections, culture celebrations, time-ins, and number stories in depth. As a parent, I love knowing she is in good hands with the coworkers I love and respect. I know that I am lucky to have a true understanding of the school and work that we both love. Brooklyn has a lot pride in her school and I like to think that I play a big role in showing her how important school is and how lucky we are to have Success Academy.
Tamika Carrington, Community Relations Coordinator, SA Bronx 1
Being a Success Academy parent and staff member is so special to me because I get to be a part of shaping young minds from a professional and personal level! I watch my daughters develop into strong, independent, intelligent young ladies — and I know I didn’t do it alone. A huge part of who they are is owed to my family’s partnership with Success Academy!
Utopia Mann-Geddes, 1st Grade Lead Teacher, SA Harlem 2
I appreciate that I really know the curriculum so when I am in parent mode, I can be helpful to my son when he finds something challenging. I also appreciate that I can provide a perspective to my colleagues about what it’s like being a parent; to families, I can bring a perspective that helps them understand my high expectations for their scholars, because I too am having the same experience of helping my child meet the demands of a rigorous school. Success Academy is a great school, but as an SA parent, I have a better understanding of how it can be difficult sometimes for families to follow the vision of our schools, and that helps me work more effectively with them.
Maria Trivedi, Director of Advancement Administration, Network
I feel privileged to be able to experience our mission and model from both perspectives. I get to see the commitment to scholars, the determination and grit of network staff through my portfolio of projects, and from the faculty at SA Bensonhurst when I meet with them to discuss progress and how to better support my kindergartener, Nikhil, and 2nd grader, Surina. I have watched my daughter develop a passion for reading … often finding her reading when she should be brushing her hair! — and a desire to master all types of challenges. I am watching my son learn to read — expressing curiosity to learn every new word he sees and excited when he recognizes words he’s already learned. I look forward to the years ahead as I get to watch both of my little ones grow alongside SA.
Kendrah Underwood, Assistant Principal, SA Fort Greene
Being an SA parent and staff member is a magical experience. I share a unique bond with parents because I know first-hand how it feels to select a school and create a partnership with them that involves one of my greatest responsibilities as a parent: educating my child. I also have the absolute privilege and pleasure of working alongside the educators who are responsible for the academic growth and development of my child as a lifelong learner. I get to experience all sides of the academic relationship that align perfectly with the mission of SA, which is to provide a world-class education with innovative curriculum and instruction for children from all backgrounds.
Wendy Diaz, 1st Grade Lead Teacher, SA Bronx 4
Being a parent and a teacher at Success Academy has allowed me to see the full impact the curriculum has on scholars. I’ve seen the amazing growth, not only in my scholars in the classroom, but also in my own son. The experience of being a parent at Success has allowed me to be a better educator, and being an educator at Success has allowed me to be a better parent. I am very excited about the future of all scholars at Success Academy, and I am a proud Success Academy educator and parent!
Noreen Cooke-Coleman, Dean of Students, SA Bronx 1
Success Academy is what motivated me to finish college. Without this school, I don’t know where I would have been!
Jeannette Firpo, Community Organizer Harlem/Bronx, Network
This fall my son and I began our Success Academy journey. The transition for both of us has been challenging, only because we have been forced out of our comfort zone and propelled into a world of excellence. We are surrounded by driven and intelligent peers, which in turn encourages us to strive to be our best.