By Wheda Carletos, Fisher Fellow, KIPP Metro Atlanta
I was in mid-conversation with a friend recently when she paused and then stated: “Wheda, you are married, you have three children, you are in school AND you are founding your own KIPP School! Do you think you are Superwoman?”
Superwoman? Would Superwoman have piles of laundry stashed away in my laundry room and stacks of papers in the to-do pile on her desk? Probably not. If I were indeed a Superwoman, I would use my super powers to wash the laundry, read all of the articles burrowing roots in my desk, make dinner for my family, and still have time to lesson plan before the children got home from school. Yet, on most days this is not the case.
However, the question did start me thinking. There is a lot that I’ve been able to accomplish in the last few years – but they are certainly not thanks to any super powers of my own. They are the results of being part of a supportive and determined team of colleagues working with me towards the same goals.
Four years ago, I wouldn’t have thought any of this was possible. At the time, I was a single mom of one amazing ten-year-old girl and I had been teaching for five years. I adored teaching and loved being a mommy, but rarely had time to truly relish them both. It seemed as though the more time I devoted to one, the less time I had for the other. During that period I was also looking for a middle school that would not only challenge my daughter academically, but that would also partner with me in making sure that my daughter remained a well-rounded and good person. That’s when we found KIPP and the trajectory of our lives would be forever changed.
My daughter started the fifth grade and I started at her school as her non-fiction teacher. While the workload for the both of us was rigorous, we had become a part of a team and family that refused to let us shoulder the load alone. My teammates became my life-lines, the principal and teachers became my daughter’s mentors and the other KIPP parents became our extended family. I was no longer a single parent. I was instantly part of a village.
More so, I was now working for an organization that encouraged both professional and personal development. Not only did my school leader push me toward mastery in the classroom, she insisted that I make time to do things for myself. I did. In my first year as a KIPP teacher, with my KIPP team and family supporting me all the way, I married my fiancé and decided to go back to school to pursue my Ph.D.
It’s now three years and two more kids later. I celebrated my fourth wedding anniversary this year; my oldest daughter received a full scholarship to attend high school; I graduate with a PhD. in educational leadership in December and I will be opening KIPP Vision Primary in the fall of 2013.
While I am proud of my career and fulfilled by my personal life, I am also very aware that I am where I am as a result of the support I’ve received. I don’t need to be Superwoman (or try to appear to be Superwoman). I just needed to partner with a super team.
We invite you to apply to join our team and family. View our open positions here. >