Educator Spotlight: Tolanda Ramsey, Woodlawn High School

photoAt Ed, we like to make a point of recognizing all of our wonderful teachers, past and present. This year, Ed had the pleasure of working with Tolanda Ramsey during her final year as an English teacher at Woodlawn High School.  Ms. Ramsey was a great ally for Ed, specifically when it came to our College 101 program. Without teachers like Ms. Ramsey, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.

Ms. Ramsey’s five years with BCS were just one piece of her interesting and varied life story. A native of Phoenix, Arizona, Ms. Ramsey attended Troy University where she earned a B.S. in English, and a Masters in Public Administration. She has worked in the accounting department of the Alabama Legislature and as a Senior Management Assistant in the Community Services Division with the City of Glendale, Arizona.

Ms. Ramsey became a teacher because she believes that “in order for our society to flourish, we must take the necessary steps to prepare future generations.” Having worked in government, Ramsey saw firsthand the challenges that cities face.  “That first step [towards civic improvement],” she says, “begins with the education of our youth.”

It was this realization that led Ramsey to leave Glendale and get her certification to teach as an English Language Arts teacher.

When asked about her teaching style, Ramsey says that she strives to “motivate and support [her] students in all aspects of their educational careers.” She takes a unique approach to teaching because she wants students to learn from their peers as well; so Ramsey utilizes the students that already understand certain concepts to help teach others in her classroom. Ms. Ramsey also stays abreast of technology and the ways that it can be beneficial to the classroom environment, and includes using “social media and cell phone technology in [her] daily lessons.”

Ramsey’s support of Ed’s programs, like College 101, is informed by her interest in exposing her students to post-secondary options.  College 101, she says, “has provided the students with a wealth of information that has helped the students with college planning – and as an awesome bonus the students [that participated in College 101] also went on various college tours and information sessions. The feedback from the students was always positive.”

Ramsey makes her way now to Starkville, Mississippi and the folks at Ed will most certainly miss getting to work with her at Woodlawn.  But her spirit and wisdom will not be soon forgotten; even in our final conversations with her, Ramsey made a comment that rings true with the staff at Ed: she said, as educators, we have to stay open minded and open to change. “We teach every day,” she said, “but becoming a great educator takes many years.”

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