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Extraordinary Educator: Sarmila De

Great communities have great schools. High Point Schools Partnership creates impactful connections between our schools and the wider community to ensure students and their families are supported and can reach their full potential in High Point schools.

Part of High Point Schools Partnerships’ mission is to improve the image of our schools through storytelling. Who better to tell the stories of High Point’s schools than the people experiencing it first-hand? In this series of articles, we will highlight our 2022 High Point Extraordinary Educators as we dive deeper into what keeps them motivated in the face of constant challenges.

2022 Extraordinary Educator: Sarmila De

Sarmila De started her teaching career at Penn Griffin School for the Arts in 2015 right after finishing her Master of Arts in Teaching degree at UNCG. This upcoming school year will be her 8th year of teaching.

De was a recipient of a Project ENRICH scholarship for MAT at UNCG. The scholarship came with a stipulation that she must teach in a Title I school for three years after graduation. De decided to stay beyond that time and considers herself fortunate to teach at Penn Griffin. She enjoys having the same students for more than one year; getting to see the transformation that students go through from freshman to senior year.

Howard Stimpson, the principal of Penn-Griffin School for the Arts, describes Ms.De as “a mentor to new teachers and frequently is sought out by veterans for professional advice.”

According to Stimpson, Ms.De “comes early, stays late, and is always making adjustments to her yearly plans in order to meet the needs of our students. Ms. De is well respected by her colleagues, students, and families.”

Ms.De wants her students to know that “you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it. So, do not give up even if you face a temporary setback.”

Q: What inspired you to become an educator?

A: I have always been passionate about math and enjoyed explaining it to others. One year I volunteered at a nonprofit called The Black Child Development Institute and tutored math to underserved students. I enjoyed that experience immensely and decided teaching math is my calling.

Q: What’s your teaching/leadership style?

A: I incorporate a variety of teaching styles. Most of the time I act as a facilitator where students learn in an inquiry-based learning environment. I am there just to guide their discussions. However, sometimes I demonstrate a math skill by modeling. Occasionally, I use direct teaching and explain concepts to my students.

Q: Do you have a classroom motto or philosophy you abide by? Why?

A: My classroom motto is Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; making mistakes is a part of learning, not a misstep. Making mistakes not only allows the opportunity to learn, but it also fosters openness to trying various ideas.

Q: What’s your favorite part about every day?

A: Interacting with students is the best part of every day. My students have vivacious energy that rubs off on me and motivates me to do my job well.

Q: What’s your most memorable moment as an educator?

A: While there are many memorable moments I have experienced over the years involving individual students, I think I am going to reminisce on students’ resiliency this year.  In spite of experiencing unimaginable challenges in their young lives and accumulating huge learning losses for more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they were able to adjust to the grueling routines of schools more easily than any adults I know; they pulled through numerous concerts, art exhibitions, and theater shows, and were able to show tremendous academic growth. They really amazed me.

Q: Is there any other information you would like us to share with the community?

A: Thank you for the recognition. It is a huge privilege to work with the students, parents, and staff at PGSA, and I am honored to have the opportunity to represent our school.  

Ms.De is just one of High Point’s 2022 Extraordinary Educators. Tune in for the next few weeks to hear more stories and inspiring moments from our local teachers!

Thank you so much to Sarmila De for your dedication to High Point’s students. Congratulations on being selected as your school’s 2022 Extraordinary Educator!

To find out more about High Point Schools Partnership and our work, please visit our Facebook page and check out our page on Guilford Education Alliance’s website.

Article written by High Point Schools Partnership Staff