Name: Wilnic Gideon Major: Mathematics Education (B.S. '10)
What is your current job title? What does the position entail?
I'm an assistant principal at a Title I High School in Palm Beach County, Florida. My job consists of assisting the principal in all duties related to helping the school reach the school improvement goals while maintaining a safe and nurturing environment in which all students are empowered to reach their highest potential. Other duties include being in charge of discipline and academics for over 400 students, math department, school-wide positive behavior support initiative and mentoring program at the school.
What is your favorite memory from your time as an FSU COE student?
My favorite memory of the College of Education was the collegial conversations and instructions provided by the wonderful professors at FSU. My undergraduate degree was in Secondary Mathematics education. It was great exploring the mathematics conversation and really learning how to delve deep into the mathematics language in order to effectively teach students. I give credit to former FSU professor Dr. Fetterly who taught me to teach students to understand math. Later, I learned and taught that math is a language and we have to teach students to be able to read it if we want them to understand and excel in the content. FSU COE really prepared me for the multicultural classroom and I have maintained relationships with many of my colleagues that I graduated with from FSU program.
What do you love about the FSU COE? Why did you choose the FSU COE?
I chose FSU COE because I wanted to pick a career that would impact our future generation. FSU COE provided me with the 21st century curriculum to really move me to be the professional I am today.
What advice do you have for future FSU COE students?
The first piece of advice I could provide is to write down your professional goals. What do you want to accomplish in education? What kind of educator you want to be? Place it on a whiteboard or write it where you can see it every day when you get up in the morning. Secondly, ask a lot of questions from your professors, mentor teachers, and observers and place it in a learning journal that you will keep and use as you reflect on best practices. Third, keep learning. Learn effective practices, keep abreast of the changes in your state's education and technology, get your master's and potentially your doctorate, and keep your learning alive. It will make you the best educator. Lastly, be an innovator. Use multiple platforms to teach. Education can branch into the digital world. You can create your own classrooms in space to teach.
What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishments (personally and/or professionally)?
My greatest accomplishments include being selected as the Take Stock in Children Alumnus of the Year in 2014 for the State of Florida. I was also a keynote speaker at the Macy's Teacher of the year Award for the State of Florida in 2014. Over the past 4 years, I helped to organize a Back to School Drive in my community. This past year, 200 backpacks and supplies were given to students in need in Palm Beach County. I also began a mentoring program where teachers serve as mentors for the students at my school. Currently, there are 24 mentor teachers and 40 students being mentored in the program. I have my master's degree in Educational Leadership and will complete my doctoral degree in spring 2017.
What is something interesting that not many people know about you?
I am affiliated with the Mu Epsilon chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated at FSU. I was also a Florida Fund for Minority Teachers scholar at FSU. I am a first-generation Haitian American, fluent in creole and conversational in Spanish. I have recently begun to travel and visit countries and have an interest in seeking mission opportunities to help develop curriculum for third world countries.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Nelson Mandela said, Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world. I believe this statement is true as research states that there is a correlation between level of educational attainment and individual and economic growth. I am a first generation college student and grew up in poverty. Life was difficult; however, I saw an opportunity to better my life by seeking an education. In doing so, I found that just making it was not enough, that it was important for me to use what I know to help others to make it as well. We all could utilize our platform for the greater good to make a better America and to make a better world.