Halfway through my interview with Brigitte, I realized her New York award is just one of many facets to her commitment and passion as an educator:
Mrs. Tennis is a teacher and an entrepreneur. She founded Stella Schola over a decade ago; Schola is the District's fourth public Choice school and first traditional 6-8 middle school.
In 2009, Mrs. Tennis was asked to contribute to a collection of inspirational stories from America's top educators called "Today I Made a Difference', Edited by Joseph W. Underwood. On page 155 & page 162 of Brigitte's story "Teaching Gems", I quote Brigitte:
"But, within the everyday work of striving to instill the fire of learning in our young people, small gems show themselves in tiny, but flashy sparkles - the challenge is, how observant are you - the teacher? Can you catch those glimmers of gemstone in the classroom?"
"So when people ask me why I am a teacher, I just smile and tell them of the treasured gems that I have collected over the years. I have a whole chest of beautiful sparkling jewels, and that's enough for me!" Read more....>> Brigitte is passionate about teaching. Her students take 15 field trips per year. Every year they go to D.C. Next year they travel to Rome. Every student graduating has taken Latin. Schola students have one teacher for each grade; 30 students/class, and their scores exceed District levels.
>> Brigitte's students love Latin so much, she volunteered to teach higher levels over the summer and on Saturday's during the school year.
>> Brigitte's credentials a long: Disney American Teacher Award 2004 Honoree, National Board Certified English Teacher, 2006 Honor Society Advisor
Though Stella Schola is only 90 students and three classrooms all in portables behind Rose Hill Junior High it draws positive attention from the District. School Board member Nancy Bernard taught several classes on health and safety recently, Brigitte said. Kudos to educator Brigitte Tennis!
Interviewed by Bob Yoder