Meet Ms. Andraya Mays | Eighth Grade English Teacher | Valor Academy
Ms. Andraya Mays is an eighth-grade English teacher at Valor Academy and December’s Teacher Spotlight! After graduating from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in philosophy, Ms. Mays began to pursue her career in education in Cincinnati, the city where she was born and raised. However, Ms. Mays is an individual who is already familiar with making a difference in the lives of children before becoming a teacher. She joined KIPP DC in 2016 after previously working for her family’s non-profit organization and working for Teach For America.
“My family has a group home organization for foster youth in Cincinnati and it’s been a family business for over 20 years. I did Teach For America in Cincinnati from 2013 to 2015 and worked with my family’s organization as their education coordinator for a year after that, before moving to the DMV to work with KIPP DC.”
Ms. Mays joined KIPP DC as a seventh grade teacher. She was also involved in various committees at Valor Academy, before transitioning to her current position as an eighth grade English teacher. Aside from teaching students, working with her team has been a task that she enjoys.
“There is this atmosphere that is very comfortable, respectful, and extremely supportive of each other. They value different perspectives.”
As an experienced educator, Ms. Mays has built a strong foundation of knowledge and skills that allows her students to feel valued and belong in her classroom. She appreciates the numerous perspectives of each student, as it helps her evolve her instructions.
“My favorite thing about my students is how brilliant they are in so many different ways. Something that I value is really seeing kids’ personalities and tailoring my instruction to who they are,” says Ms. Mays. “It’s been really cool to get to know kids as a collective, but also their individual personalities.”
As much as Ms. Mays motivates her students to achieve their goals, her students also have a hand in encouraging her to do her best as a teacher, so she can continue making a difference in the lives of KIPP DC students.
“I’ve learned a lot about love and commitment through working with kids. It’s important for me to show up because kids are so resilient. There have been so many moments where kids are going through a lot outside of school and they’re still here and you would never know. You see that and you’re like ‘if they can, then I definitely can.'”
Her advice for those interested in working for KIPP DC is that it is worthwhile to make a meaningful impact on young people.
“One of the things that I value most about KIPP DC is the access to resources for our kids. Anything that you need to help students be successful, you can get. If you want a space that will give you the tools to be a successful teacher, then KIPP DC is your best bet.”
Ms. Mays is a teacher of exceptional character who has made a massive difference in the lives of so many of our students at Valor Academy. We couldn’t be more proud to feature her as this month’s Teacher Spotlight and look forward to her future contributions to our students’ lives.