One of those teachers is Danielle Anderson. She was one of the academy’s first students in 2005, and now teaches second-grade students at the same school where she received her early education.
“I always told myself I would go back to the heart of it all,” Anderson said. “I had great teachers whom I loved dearly, and they made it look so easy. So, I told myself if I could, I would do it all again and that is what I did.”
Another alumna, Lakeytra Coleman, attended Premier from 2008-11 and is now an Early Learning teacher. She uses what she learned then with her current students, hoping to give them the same high-quality education she received.
"I remember my teachers being very relatable and understanding,” Coleman said. “That had an impact on how I connect with the current students.”
Premier, which has outperformed the local district for 11 years, also has two math teachers who are former students. Linton McNeeley helps fourth and fifth graders learn new skills, while Tiffani Wilkins works with middle school students.
“Hiring former students to return as teachers or support staff has many benefits for our school community,” Principal Michael Johnson said. “They have greater familiarity with the school culture, a stronger connection with students, and a deeper understanding of the community we serve. I am a firm believer that our former students will feel a stronger sense of connection to the school and become more invested in its success because they sat in the actual seats of our current students.”
Johnson says there are also NHA alumnae from other schools currently at Premier, including kindergarten teacher Monika Mitchell, who attended Great Oaks Academy in Warren, Mich., and recess aide Tae Kidd who attended Warrendale Charter Academy in Detroit.
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Detroit Premier Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Detroit, Michigan, serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit nhaschools.com.
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