Meet Taiam Simmons, M. Ed.
TEACH’s Interim Executive Director
Taiam’s passion for education is palpable, something she says she carries in her genes. As a third-generation educator and with more than 20 family members working in the school system, Taiam’s more than 15-year career in the Houston Independent School District as a principal, assistant principal, curriculum coordinator and elementary and middle school teacher seemed truly destined.
For Taiam, working in education means impacting as many lives as possible and providing avenues for opportunity and success. Seeing that positive impact first-hand led her to join TEACH in 2015. As Director of School Partnerships, Taiam incorporates her experience as both an educator and a school leader to facilitate the campus-wide implementation of TEACH’s curriculum. When she’s not working with educators or students, you’ll find Taiam happily surrounded by her large family and enjoying time together around a home-cooked meal.
TEACH: What do you love most about working in education?
TS: It’s all about the students. They hold the future. We have to educate them in such a way that the future looks bright for them. They only get one chance at first, fifth, ninth grade. What is that experience going to look like for them? What will they remember? Teachers play a critical role in shaping that. We all remember how a teacher or a classroom made us feel. So, how do we work with teachers to create the best possible learning environment for students? That’s where TEACH’s work really makes a difference.
TEACH: When did your interest/experience in education begin?
TS: I think it was destined for me. It’s in my genes. I am a third-generation educator, and I have 20-25 immediate family members who are in the educational system. My mom was an educator for more than 30+ years, and my dad was a school bus driver for nearly 30 years. They both have at least two degrees, so I always knew I’d go to college. Education has always been important to me. It was non-negotiable, so one of my goals has been to help others see the choices available to them through education. For me, education has always been about asking, how can I continue to impact more people? As a teacher, I had 22 students in the classroom; as a specialist, 350 kids; then as a principal, 500. My career has kind of unfolded that way, and that impact continues to grow. TEACH is now at 20 different schools, so today I have the opportunity to impact thousands.
TEACH: Who do you consider one of the great teachers in your life and why?
TS: My mom, because she was my first teacher. It’s a never-ending job, she’d say. She taught me so many things about teaching and about parenting myself. She taught me about positive influence, how to read nonverbals and how to be a strong communicator. She also taught me the importance of setting high expectations and being a pillar of support.
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