Yolonda Black knew from an early age that she wanted to teach; she just didn’t know exactly what that meant.

Yolonda grew up in Reidsville, North Carolina, where she first caught the teaching bug while watching her mother teach students from pre-kindergarten through grade 12 (she is still teaching today). Says Yolonda, “I always wanted to be a teacher because of the positive influence [I saw my mother] have on her students.” Yolonda knew that teaching was a lot of work for her mother, but she also saw how passionate her mother was about her job and decided, “I want to try that, too.” Not wanting to wait until she was old enough to take on teaching as a profession, as a child Yolonda would line up her stuffed bears in her bedroom and teach them.

But entering the profession was not only about following in her mother’s footsteps. Equally as influential for Yolonda was the opportunity she knew teaching could provide for her to change the life direction of her students. Watching members of her own family struggle with education and finding success early in life providing advice to her peers helped her decide she wanted to be in a position to make school a better experience for as many children as possible.

And thus a teacher was born.

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