2021 Extraordinary Educators: Aiesha Lanier
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 eight articles, we will highlight our 2021 High Point Extraordinary Educators as we dive deeper into what keeps them motivated in the face of constant challenges.
Aiesha Lanier has been an educator at Union Hill Elementary School for 3 years, but she’s been an educator for 7 years. Union Hill’s “family atmosphere,” “dedication, vision, positive attitude of our leadership team,” and “the amazing students and families we serve” is what makes every day of work feel like it’s not working at all.
Therman Flowers is the principal at Union Hill Elementary School. About Mrs. Lanier, he says “students know Mrs. Lanier as a caring and exciting teacher who cares about them. Not only is she an expert at collecting and analyzing data, but Mrs. Lanier also involves her students in the process so that they can truly take ownership of their learning.”
In the classroom, “Mrs. Lanier knows how to take students from where they are and build upon their background knowledge.” She “holds each of them accountable for their best learning every day and never doubts her student’s capacity to succeed!”
Q: What inspired you to become an educator?
A: I’ve been a “teacher” for as long as I can remember. I know without a doubt that teaching is what I was called to do. Having the opportunity to create an alternate ending to the story that has been written for our students based on their skin color and socioeconomic status is a powerful responsibility that I don’t take lightly. So, I guess if I had to say in a few words my “why” for becoming an educator, it would be to change students’ lives for the better.
Q: What’s your teaching/leadership style?
A: If I had to sum up my teaching style in a few words, it would be high expectations, accountability, and relationships. Almost every day I tell my students that I love them, and they know that I’m going to treat them like my own children. I walk into my classroom with the knowledge that not only can all students learn but that they can excel. I set goals with my students and am relentless in holding students accountable in reaching those goals because that’s the expectation I have for my own children.
Q: Do you have a classroom motto or philosophy you abide by? Why?
A: I once read somewhere that great teachers understand that students can reach potentials they cannot yet conceive. My philosophy is that I am the visionary for my classroom. It is up to me to expose students to goals they never knew they could reach, careers they never knew existed, and possibilities they never imagined could be realities. As for a motto, if you were to ask my students “What’s something that Mrs. Lanier always says?”, I’m sure they would tell you “I love you.”
Q: What’s your favorite part about every day?
A: The moment when students realize they CAN accomplish something is always special. It’s one thing for students to know you believe in them, it’s another for them to believe in themselves. When that transition is made, it is absolutely the best part of my day.
Q: What’s your most memorable moment as an educator?
A: I’m a hugger. I once had a student tell me, “Mrs. Lanier, you give the best hugs.” Nothing compares to the hugs you receive from your most difficult students. When a big, hormonal, full of attitude 5th grader gives you a hug with tears in their eyes at the end of the school year, it’s something really special.
Mrs. Lanier’s comments to her students? “I want them to know how much I believe in them. Not in the cliché sense of the word, but truly believe in the amazing things they can accomplish. And of course, that I love them.”
And to her student’s parents? “Thank you. Thank you for entrusting me with your most valuable resource.”
Thank you so much to Aiesha Lanier for your dedication to High Point’s students. Congratulations on being selected as your school’s 2021 Extraordinary Educator!
Article written by High Point Schools Partnership Staff