Newman University students Lina Anescar Meile and Rebecca Clifton have been recognized as Teachers of Promise by the Kansas State Department of Education for the fall 2020 semester.
Twice each year, the KDHE invites Kansas universities and colleges with education programs to nominate two students to be recognized as Teachers of Promise
Teachers of Promise are given the opportunity to network and learn from professional educators and policy leaders. Both of Newman’s honorees rely heavily on their faith, believing God has led them to their calling as a teacher.
Meile is an early childhood education major who will graduate in December 2020. She will teach at Garfield Early Childhood in Garden City, Kansas, where she has been a substitute teacher for the past two years.
“I aspire to teach kindergarten for as long as God will let me, and own my own early care center in the future.”
She was honored and grateful to learn of the recent recognition as a Teacher of Promise, she said. Her goal in life, she said, is to do her best and learn as much as she can to be an effective teacher.
The personalized education she receives at Newman is one thing she will not forget. During her time in the program, she has acquired skills and traits from teachers and classmates that she believes will help her be the kind of teacher she strives to be — one who shows her students that she believes in their success no matter what.
“I can honestly say that my time at Newman has been a great experience,” said Meile. “Even though the program is fast-paced and intense, the staff, teachers and my fellow classmates made it worthwhile. I did not feel like a number. I genuinely felt like my teachers cared about our success and they were always available to help us reach our full potential.”
Clifton is set to graduate in December 2020 with an elementary education degree. She didn’t even know the Teachers of Promise award existed until she received her certificate in the mail. She feels honored to be chosen and said her classmates are amazingly talented and dedicated individuals.
She is a student in Newman’s Southeast Kansas outreach program, which offers all courses in the evenings. This has allowed Clifton the flexibility she needs to complete her degree.
“I have been able to earn my degree from home. It’s been amazing for me to be able to work a full-time job while taking night classes to earn my bachelor’s degree. And the outreach program has some of the best educators and professors.
“Jessica Bird, Tiffany Webster and Mallory Arellano have been so wonderful about answering my questions and calming my fears throughout this journey. Simply knowing that they truly care about me as a person has made all the difference in my Newman experience.”
When she is finished with the degree program at Newman, Clifton will be licensed in both elementary education and middle school science. She is still trying to decide what grade level she will teach in.
“After student teaching in both first grade and then in a middle school science classroom, I feel like I’ve seen both ends of the spectrum,” explained Clifton. “Oddly enough, I have enjoyed them both immensely. I’m not sure that I could tell you which one I enjoyed more.”
She already has a job offer teaching middle school at a private Christian school but there are also a couple of elementary positions available that she finds appealing.
“I know that God led me to become a teacher, so I’m sure He will guide me to the right job. I just enjoy teaching, so I think I will be content anywhere I end up.”
Clifton said she plans to eventually end up in an inner-city school district, something that has been on her and her husband’s hearts for a couple of years now.
“I’m excited to see where God will lead us. In the meantime, I’m perfectly content doing whatever He has for me.”