Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! We love our teachers year 'round, but we're especially excited when we get the chance to step back and celebrate them with even more appreciation. Our teachers are people who believe in empowering the next generation of gamechangers. People like Jaime Swett, a 19-year veteran and founding teacher at Amistad Academy Middle. She says: "I teach because I believe that, at some level, I am changing the world one child at a time." [caption id="attachment_10872" align="alignleft" width="169"] Ethel McGinn and her student review work.[/caption] Every teacher has a unique story about what brings them to this work. Ethel McGinn from AF East Brooklyn High says: "I teach because every child deserves a champion. I teach because every child deserves a teacher who is never going to give up on them. I teach because I believe in the power of my scholars and the work they will accomplish in our society." There are so many reasons to be thankful for our teachers, like Jon Deliz, a master teacher at AF Crown Heights Elementary. What's just one of them? He has a vision of what kids can do AND the ability to help them get there. Jon's coach Susan Charles explains: "In any given moment, his students can rap or dance or recite lines from 'Romeo and Juliet.' It’s amazing to watch. His scholars are grasping on to everything he teaches. And, he just loves what he does! Jon is never satisfied with something that is good. He wants to be great, and he wants his students to be great.” [caption id="attachment_10873" align="alignright" width="300"] Jon Deliz and his students in drama class.[/caption] Above all, our teachers know the radical power of love to transform lives. For Ashlee Bowman from AF Hartford Academy Elementary, this means passing along strength and determination. She says: “I teach because I was inspired by my first grade teacher, Mrs. Bress. She was the type of teacher to nurture and make each student feel special. She had such a warm smile and was patient with me. She genuinely loved her students and wanted to see them ALL be successful. Now, I am teaching first grade, just like Mrs. Bress. I enjoy teaching lower school because it is the foundation of learning. [caption id="attachment_10874" align="alignleft" width="300"] Ashlee Bowman in her classroom.[/caption] I teach because I have a supportive family, and they inspire greatness in me. They truly give me the drive to keep pushing. I am so thankful for life, health, and a strong family that supports me in all that I do. Since the passing of my father Pastor Ronnie Bowman Sr., I have truly developed a sense of perseverance to make my family proud. I thank God for all of his blessings. My mother is someone who influences me. Seeing how she is now pastoring the church my late father pastored is amazing to me. The strength and determination my mom and family give me, I want to share with my scholars.” Thank you, Ashlee, Jon, Jaime, Ethel, and the 1000+ teachers who make up our amazing network of dedicated, passionate educators!