Model Teachers at NNPS

Model Teachers: ESL

Meet this model teacher team and learn how college, career and citizen-ready skills come alive in their classrooms!

Shana Hollis

Content: ESL Newcomers
School: McIntosh Elementary ESL Newcomer Center
Years Taught: 10

What do you most love about teaching?
I love the opportunity to build relationships with my students. This is how we meet them where they arrive, convince them of their great potential, and watch them soar. At every level, this is an extremely valuable thing to do, but even more so with our recently arrived immigrant and refugee children. For many of these children, life has been unstable for quite a while. As an ESL Newcomer teacher, I have the opportunity and responsibility to give my students a safe and supportive place to gather their bearings and build critical, foundational academic skills while learning a new language.

What makes NNPS a great school division?
NNPS has an amazing ESL department committed to serving our culturally and linguistically diverse students and families. They were nationally recognized in 2018 for their commitment to supporting our immigrant and refugee families through diverse programming and outreach. I feel honored to be part of such a strong, dedicated team.

Why are you passionate about supporting fellow teachers?
As a teacher, I see myself as a lifelong learner and want to support my colleagues in that way. What we do day in and day out as educators is hard work. Without creating a supportive network amongst our fellow teachers, we risk losing sight of the important difference we are making in children's lives. We each bring to this different strengths, experiences, and insights. The only way to grow and challenge ourselves to be better is to learn from one another.

Danielle Debisschop

Content: ESL
School: Sedgefield Elementary
Years Taught: 3

What do you most love about teaching?
What I love most about teaching is the daily interactions I have with my students. They are bright, hardworking, and hilarious. They are the reason I enjoy coming to work every day.

What makes NNPS a great school division?
NNPS has an amazing ESL department committed to serving our culturally and linguistically diverse student population. I feel lucky to be part of the team.

Why are you passionate about supporting fellow teachers?
Teachers are lifelong learners. I think it is important to learn from one another, collaborate, and continue to explore effective instruction.

Kymani Pearson-Brown

Content: ESL
School: Denbigh High
Years Taught: 8

What do you most love about teaching?
As an ESL teacher, each day brings a new challenge, while at the same time, a new opportunity to inspire and make a positive impact on my students. I cherish the relationships I have formed with my students and their families over the years. Whenever I need to "reset" and remind myself why I began teaching, all I have to do is peruse my file of handwritten notes, cards, and artwork I've received from students that read "Thank you for teaching me English" or "I love you Mrs. P-B". Any dedicated teacher will agree that those are the moments we live for in this profession.

What is the best way to describe your classroom on a typical day?
On a typical day, my classroom might seem noisy to visitors, but once inside, they will quickly see that my students are always actively learning to communicate in English through a variety of modes. Language acquisition happens best when students are comfortable in their environment, and my students know that as soon as they enter the classroom they are safe, loved, and accepted. Even the most apprehensive students know that they are free to let down their guard and express themselves without fear of judgment.

Why do you love working in NNPS?
My first two years of teaching were in a much larger district in Virginia. There, I felt like just a number in a crowd. What I love most about working for NNPS is the accessibility and ease with which teachers are able to receive one-on-one support and professional development, while building strong relationships with fellow teachers, school-based administrators, and supervisors across departments. Support in NNPS is just an email, phone call, or visit away.