This educator spotlight on Chemeka Watson, a CCSD paraprofessional pursuing her dream of becoming a licensed teacher through our Teacher Pathway program, is featured in “Along the Pathway”, our monthly Teacher Pathway newsletter. Each edition features updates regarding the Teacher Pathway program, participant and community partner spotlights, and programming goals our mentees are working towards that will support them in becoming dynamic educators in local classrooms. To receive the newsletter in your inbox each month, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chemeka Watson is a military veteran who has found her true calling in teaching and is now on a journey to become a licensed educator in the Clark County School District (CCSD). While this journey has not been without challenges, her passion for teaching and interacting with students has kept her motivated.
Chemeka’s desire to serve others started at a young age when she would assist elders with small tasks around their homes. Growing up in a military family showed Chemeka how she could pair this desire to do meaningful work with the urge to serve her country, leading to her eventual enlistment. Following her service in the United States Army, Chemeka decided to pursue a career in education. Her passion for teaching was sparked when her mother started her own preschool center, where Chemeka would often volunteer.
Chemeka began her path to becoming a licensed educator working in the St. Louis Public School District where she supported students for 7 years. When she relocated to Las Vegas, she was able to continue educating students by becoming a Guest Teacher for Clark County School District. Currently, Ms. Watson is making a difference in the lives of students at Dean Petersen Rise Academy – an elementary school in Southern Nevada committed to“working together as a community of learners to increase academic growth and enhance positive social development.” For Chemeka, this mission motivates her to “build and maintain a connection with my students, parents, staff, and our family community to reach and teach our students.”
Despite the obstacles she faced while working towards licensure on her own, such as a lack of an impactful support system and resources, she has renewed her commitment to pursuing her goal of helping students overcome obstacles and educational challenges as a licensed educator. She believes that professional development, including mentoring and support from fellow educators, is crucial for educators to develop the knowledge and skills required to address the needs of students’ learning.
Chemeka has found great support through the Public Education Foundation’s Teacher Pathway program as she pursues her goal of having a classroom of her own. Chemeka credits the program with providing her with a community of like-minded individuals who have completed the program or are working towards it. Her mentor, Gwendolyn Williams, has been a valuable resource, providing reminders, emotional support, advice, and guidance. “She has supported me through the progress of continuing my education. She has also provided emotional support, advice, and guidance to date,” says Chemeka.
Chemeka advises fellow veterans who are considering a career in education to strive for excellence and exercise patience with their students. She believes that organizations like the Public Education Foundation should support veterans exploring post-service careers as they can provide not only funding, but also an opportunity to connect veterans forging a new path of service with others who share a common purpose. When asked what she thought supporters of the Teacher Pathway program should know, Chemeka implored them to “continue to support mentors and mentees through their journey on completing the Teacher Pathway program.” Ms. Watson strongly feels that having access to a program like this helps mentees build confidence through the guidance received from others who have experienced the professional journey our mentees are currently on.
Chemeka is an inspiration to anyone looking for a meaningful post-service career as an educator. Her dedication to serving others, her passion for seeing the growth and progress of all her students while they strive to reach their full potential, and her perseverance in overcoming obstacles are admirable qualities that make her an excellent educator.