Learn more about this month's Super Staff Member, Lexi Zeidan. K5 Dean of Instruction at MacDowell Prep Academy.
Why did you get into education? Education was never in my initial plans. I went to school and studied broadcast journalism. My dream was to be the morning news anchor for channel 7. In college, I co-founded an organization called Destination Detroit, which was a student group on campus that helped build bridges between other student groups through service work in Detroit. Once a month, a number of college students would take a trip to the city and we would select one school to visit. During our visit we did an educational activity with the kids and did question and answer panels. After our work with the students, we picked a really cool place in Detroit to visit whether it was the Colors Restaurant or doing a scavenger hunt around Belle Isle, the entire experience opened up a world of opportunities for me. During my time with Destination Detroit, I met several people who introduced me to Teach For America. I landed an internship with them as a Campus Campaign Coordinator on campus at Michigan State. During my time as a CCC, I began to study and realize the inequities certain kids faced in our country- particularly students of color. I began to take sociology classes to study these inequities more and before I knew it, I had a minor in sociology, was accepted into Teach For America and became part of the Promise Schools Family ever since.
Who was your favorite teacher and why? My third grade teacher- Ms. Lacaprera. She was the driving force behind me starting out as a third grade teacher when I launched my teaching career. The biggest thing that stood out with her was her ability to connect with her students. It’s not the lessons that I remember or how well I exceeded in her classroom. It was the consistent smiles she gave every kid, her interest in our lives outside of school and her constant encouragement when anyone was not feeling their best. When I think of teaching I think of it as a very nurturing career. I know that there is not a career that could ever be as intrinsically rewarding as teaching, and it wasn’t my experience as a teacher that taught me that. It was my experience as a student to Ms. Lacaprera who showed that.
How do you “Sharpen the Saw?” I sharpen the saw in many different ways- it really depends on my mood. Some days I like to sit in bed and rotate between reading and binge watching my favorite tv shows. On most days, however, I love leaving work, going to the gym, coming home and blasting music while cooking, having candles lit, and hanging with loved ones!
Who is your hero and why? My grandmother. For most of her life she lived in a small village in Jordan with my grandfather, my mother and her siblings. My grandfather and my grandmother wanted to pursue the American Dream and decided to move to America with their children in 1970. Without speaking a lick of English, my grandmother and grandfather worked incredibly hard to adjust to the American lifestyle. My grandmother wanted her children to have the best education- she strongly believed in excellence without excuses. With barely any money to their name, minimal ability to communicate and a lot of fear- my grandmother picked herself up and went over to Holy Redeemer in Southwest Detroit and enrolled my mother and her son into the school. My grandmother was so persistent and passionate in everything that she did. She knew they could not afford to put my mother and uncle in a private school but somehow managed to convince the administration at the time to let her work hours at the school in exchange for their education. My grandfather passed away 27 years ago and his passing only contributed to the strong woman my grandmother would continue to grow into. She’s my hero because she showed me what it means to be fearless in the face of fear and for that I’m forever grateful.
What is your favorite book and why? My favorite book is What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey. When I first read this book I had such a liberating feeling because she talks about what it is that she has control over and she discusses how all of her decisions are grounded in her belief. As I read it, it helped me to do the same and has guided many of my decisions ever since.