Nashville Predators December 2021 Teacher of the Month
Donelson Middle School; Metro Nashville Public Schools
Tell us about yourself!
First of all, I am so thrilled to be nominated teacher of the month for November. My name is Leia Brown, I have two beautiful daughters, a son-in-law, and one two year old grand daughter in Seattle. Reid works for Amazon Air as an engineer at the headquarters, and Hannah is a counselor for a college. My youngest daughter, Heather lives in Eureka Springs and is a nurse. Considering their father and I divorced when they were in 5th and 7th grade, and I raised them mostly alone, I am one very proud momma! My father left when I was in the 8th grade and before leaving, he burned our home. He was a horrible father, and we were blessed when he left. We lived with my grandparents until my mother could build us a new home. I went through more than most will ever experience, and I don’t remember any teacher or counselor showing any concern. As an adult, I’ve looked back, and all the signs of problems in my home were so obvious. Back then, no one wanted to get involved in situations like I was in. When it came time for getting ready to pick a college, my mother never mentioned anything to me, and no one at school ever spoke to me about it, and I graduated with honors. Even though no one ever mentioned college to me, I knew I wanted to go. I attempted to work full time and go to school fulltime, but it was too much for me. I dropped out and worked full time in a factory for a few years and eventually married and had the girls. I stayed home with them until they started pre-k and Kindergarten, and we all started school at the same time! The thought of being home with them when they were off was initially what drew me to teaching. However, I didn’t want to go into education without substituting first. There are so many teachers who are in the wrong profession, and it shows. So, I subbed as much as possible and volunteered to make sure it was the right thing for me. I knew withing the first 5 days that teaching was for me. Personally, I don’t think anyone should be allowed to start education courses without substituting 10 full days in various grades. That’s one of the reasons we lose so many new teachers. After driving over an hour one way to the university, taking care of my family, and graduating with honors, I felt so accomplished. Being the first to graduate from both sides of my family took it to a whole other level! A few years later, I received my Masters in Educational Leadership from Trevecca. I taught two years in Alabama before we transferred to west TN. I taught three years in public education, a community college for four years, was a director of a federal grant for two years, and I’m on my 14th year in Nashville. Math has always been my favorite subject to teach. About 6 years ago, I was offered the opportunity to teach a computer science program which involved a lot of math, so I jumped on it! Since then, I’ve worked with programs like Everfi, the Minecraft Cohort, coding, and was just accepted into the Amazon Project Stem Program. I also received a grant from Dell which helped improved my lab so much. Teaching in an inner city school system definitely has it’s challenges, but I see it as an opportunity to give my students what I didn’t receive from most of my teachers…..attention, love, caring, a shoulder to lean on, someone to feel they can talk to, and help out financially. I am very fortunate to have friends who are always willing to help with providing clothes, food, assistance with rent, and paying utilities. We have assisted many students/families over the years, and we will continue to do so. My goal now is to continue teaching, assist my students in whatever way possible, and work on my doctorate.
Who is your favorite NHL® player and why?
Filip Forsberg is by far my favorite but not so much for what he does on the ice but what he does for his community. He seems to have a great personality and truly loves helping others.
What is your favorite part of the Future Goals™program? How do you see STEM in the game of hockey?
MATH, MATH, MATH!!!! Most students at my school do not like math, but this program helps students learn how math (mostly geometry)is used in real world situations. They love the program!