Meet Nzinga Shury, M.S. Ed.
Program Manager at TEACH
Nzinga’s earliest childhood memories include her lining up her dolls on the bed and taking attendance. To her, education meant freedom from poverty and a key to success. Growing up with a single mom in an impoverished community in New York City, Nzinga poured herself into learning. Despite her love for education, however, it wouldn’t be until earning her undergraduate degree in communications from the University of Maryland that Nzinga would feel the calling for becoming an educator herself.
Spending two years in the classroom as a Teach for America educator, Nzinga felt empowered and saw first-hand the direct impact she could have on students who were just like her. Her impassioned path has led her to serve as a special education teacher and peer collaborative teacher at Eagle Academy for Young Men in the Bronx and as the Director of School Systems and Teacher Education at Achievement First East Brooklyn High School, a charter school in Brooklyn. Having joined TEACH as a Program Manager in July 2021, Nzinga says she wakes up every day focused on making an impact. A self-proclaimed natural-born performer, she is also spending time acquainting herself with Houston by way of the city’s art scene and will be auditioning for the Houston Show Choir later this summer.
TEACH: When did your interest / experience in education begin?
NS: Some of my earliest childhood memories are of me lining up my dolls on the bed, giving them names, taking attendance, etc.. I’ve always loved going to school and learning, but I hadn’t thought about pursuing a career in education until after college. I truly think it was God’s calling; education found me. I believe education is the key to success, a means out of poverty. I grew up in the projects with a single parent who always told me to get an education so that I could find a way out of that. Once I saw the power of being in the classroom and of being able to provide that opportunity for other kids, that was it. I knew that was the path for me.
TEACH: What do you love most about working in education?
NS: Having the power to make an impact, even if it’s’ just on one person. I wake up every day with that idea. If I can impact one person, even if it ‘s someone on my team, then I can really make a change. There aren’t a lot of careers that provide that opportunity.
TEACH: At the end of the day, what is one thing you find most fulfilling about your job?
NS: I started teaching in 2013 and still have relationships with some of the students I had during my first year of teaching. It’s such a full-circle moment for me, because I’m still connected with many of my own teachers. Seeing the impact that teachers can have all of those years later and being able to be that support and community for students is something I really cherish.
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