During Women’s History Month, we celebrate the women and girls in SA’s community who help lead our schools, support scholars at home, advocate for kids across the city, help their friends in school, and generally make our schools special. These SA “Sheroes” go out of their way to raise up their school communities and epitomize kindness, leadership, and helpfulness every day. Despite a difficult year, many of our parent, scholar, and staff Sheroes have made remarkable contributions to their communities. Each of the following Sheroes was nominated by her community as someone who goes above and beyond to impact her school. We are lucky to have Sheroes abound at Success Academy; we received more than 60 nominations, and we’re delighted to share what our staff had to say about a few of them:
Ms. Ammirato’s #1 priority is always our scholars. She takes the time to self-reflect after every lesson to make sure our scholars have the best experience they possibly can! Outside of pushing them to grow, she encourages scholars to build relationships with each other and their teachers with weekly Lunch Bunches and Guided Drawings. During our last Math IA, our scholars said they were sad that we weren’t going to have an end-of-the-day meeting and that they wished we could have one because they miss everyone, so Ms. Ammirato scheduled a Guided Drawing on her Zoom link for scholars to hop on and spend some time together when we were done testing. We had several scholars log on and it was so sweet. On that note, our scholars also grew 15% (!!!) on our last Math IA, which is a reflection of how hard she works for our scholars. <3
Dr. Budassi is a powerhouse. Brand new to HSLA, she arrived in the middle of quarter two and fearlessly jumped right in, teaching multiple chemistry classes and “adopting” an entire advisory group. She is a fantastic advisor, always game-planning and time-managing with her advisees and helping them fight to be their best selves. Dr. Budassi is also a meticulous, dedicated instructor who earns the daily respect of her scholars. After only knowing her for a few months, they couldn’t wait to ask her to write their college letters of recommendation!
Ms. Nixon has one priority: ensuring that she is supporting anyone and everyone around her at all times. She will go out of her way to make sure everyone in the school community has a shoulder to lean on for support and a role model to look up to for guidance. She has laid the foundations of the school community since the beginning of the year. No matter what the need is, whether it’s help with technology, support with a family call, or even in the classroom as a co-teacher, Ms. Nixon is always there to lift us up each and every day. She is the first to hype up staff and scholars in meetings and throughout the day, and is always looking for ways to help out. She also brings so much joy to our remote day through our Slack channels!
Ms. Bowman, president of SA Williamsburg’s PCEC, goes out of her way to bring the community together — especially during this remote school year. Each week she sends out a newsletter with great resources for families from where to find aid in the local community to organizing different committees to best support the school (Summer Break Committee and Event Committee are some of the most recent ones!). She has organized events such as uniform drives, tech device drives, and socially-distanced events in local parks, and has even held Zoom gatherings for parents. Ms. Bowman is truly dedicated to making SAWB a welcoming community for all families and we are so appreciative of her partnership.
Ms. Kwan is an amazing leader who always finds the time to be the connection between the school and parents. She has made working within the SAHK community a priority over the past years and is always willing to help out with any school efforts. Ms. Kwan leads by example. For our multicultural month virtual potluck, she crafted entertaining videos of her scholar preparing food to share with the school! Ms. Kwan is always willing to help the larger SAHK community in any way she can. She has worked to connect new SAHK families with other families in their grade to help foster scholar relationships, even while remote. She also manages all communications to all class parents and the larger SAHK community. Any time we need to increase our communication with families for a specific initiative, Ms. Kwan is always willing to spread the word!
Mrs. Lemmon-Barrow is an advocate, role model, and constant supporter not only of her children, but of every member of the school community. The first words from Mrs. Barrow during our first meeting were, “I MUST WARN YOU, I AM THAT PARENT!” followed by an awkward stare-off, then a burst of laughter between Mrs. Lemmon-Barrow and teachers. It was in that moment we knew we’d found our co-teacher, partner, and fierce child advocate! She came to the meeting prepared; sharing her child’s strengths, weaknesses, and explaining her expectations from the teachers, especially during remote learning. This was the beginning of a beautiful partnership, fueled by her passion for education and love for her children. Because of Mrs. Barrow’s hard work, her scholars are thriving during these unprecedented times, showing constant growth academically, socially, and emotionally.
Ms. Guzman is a Shero in every sense of the word. She is kind, humble, and fiercely passionate about ensuring her scholar and our class have access to everything they need in order to have a strong year. If she ever notices technology that is down, she alerts us right away, saving our whole class from future struggles. She will shout out scholars in our Zoom chat, and her son takes her example and cheers on his classmates, sending support through the screen, and always being an active listener. We don’t know where our class would be without this Shero and we don’t want to. Thank you, Ms. Guzman, for all that you have done to support us! We appreciate you!
Skyy is an exemplary scholar who always sets the standards for others. If other scholars are confused or don’t follow directions, she helps bring them back. She has also helped other scholars with homework, showing tremendous dedication. Recently, a few scholars were asking Skyy about the math homework, and she brought them all to my office hours so we could go through the homework together. She is always displaying initiative and leadership within the class and out with her peers.
Due to the pandemic, Egypt’s weekly trips to the library for bedtime storybooks stopped. After reading the same books over and over, her dad asked her to come up with her own bedtime stories. Not one to back down from a challenge, this talented little girl with a vivid imagination came up with Egypt’s Everyday Superheroes series. Her stories were so beautiful and inspiring that her parents wanted kids around the globe to read them. These books are just the first in a series of books that Egypt cannot wait to share with everyone. Egypt may be little, but she did something big and amazing that will inspire generations to come. Egypt also raised funds over the holiday season for other kids to donate books to children in need.