FSLA ALUM – Trent Petty Spotlight Feature

The Freedom School Literacy Academy has smart, driven, and talented alumni who are following the #BlackTeacherPipeline. One alum whose lineage is the definition of the #BlackTeacherPipeline is Trent Petty. Trent is a third-generation educator following the footsteps of his mother who was a special education teacher and his grandmother who was a paraprofessional and substitute teacher. Both women left an indelible mark on Trent, pushing him into the field when he had doubts about succeeding as a teacher.

Petty decided to become a teacher when he switched his major to special education in his sophomore year at Kent State University. He is currently pursuing a Master's degree through the Relay Graduate School of Education program. Trent felt that the Freedom School Literacy Academy made him more aware of his role in teaching. He stated “Freedom Schools introduced me to a curriculum that ties in data and intentionality when it comes to improving skills with literacy. My [desire] for more than average for the kids I come in contact with has led me to become more intentional as an educator”.

“When asked what he would like to see for the future of Black teachers everywhere Trent said “The first thing that comes to mind is the word more. I want to see more Black teachers! My ultimate vision is to have more Black educators in cities that may not be predominantly Black. I think it is important for Black youth to pursue a career in the education industry because I see it as an investment for the future of our people”. For Trent that investment does not necessarily mean being a teacher. He believes that people can lead by simply being a mentor, coach, afterschool helper, or doing anything that can help give back to younger generations.”

— Petty

Trent has inspirational advice for those wanting to join the Black Teacher Pipeline fellowship: 

The advice that I have is to make it to the finish line! The time from the start of the race to the finish line may be filled with everything from moments of courage, motivation, and self-fulfillment to self-doubt, loss of way, and lack of motivation. I think one of the least talked about skills when it comes to success is resiliency. It takes a lot to want to keep going when you feel like there is no reason to. You can only expect returns when you consistently make deposits. I know that my future will be filled with moments that have obstacles, but I also know that there will be moments in my future when I have the answers to the obstacles.

For many Black youths becoming an educator may seem like an uphill battle, but as Trent has demonstrated it takes sheer will and a desire to reach above and beyond your potential that makes the journey uphill that much more satisfying.

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