Teacher Spotlight—January 2020

Meet Mr. Edward Kirkland | Lead Math Teacher | KIPP DC Somerset Preparatory Academy


Mr. Edward Kirkland is a lead Math teacher at KIPP DC Somerset College Preparatory and January’s Teacher Spotlight! Mr. Kirkland joined KIPP DC in 2019, bringing with him a wealth of knowledge and experience garnered through more than 15 years in the classroom as a teacher in Brooklyn, Atlanta, and Washington, DC. A graduate of Morehouse College with degrees in psychology and child development, Mr. Kirkland describes teaching math as fulfillment of a lifelong passion.

“I always loved math as a kid and was really good at it. When I began teaching math in Brooklyn as a New York City Teaching Fellow, I realized I was able to make connections with students, weave humor into the lessons, and use real-world examples pretty easily. That stamped it for me and I’ve been teaching math ever since.”

That ability to weave different elements into his classroom is on full display even if you only spend a few moments his algebra class. Hands jump to the sky as equations are worked out on the whiteboard, students busily discuss with one another in small groups how they came up with certain answers, all the while Mr. Kirkland buzzes about from table to table, offering a bit of advice on a problem here, or a clever bit of humor there.

“Math can be challenging, so I try to keep it light and I try to have fun,” he said. “I think by doing that it encourages participation, but more importantly it opens a door that allows you to build those relationships with students.”

Mr. Kirkland and Student

His 16 years in education is a testament to his longevity but also an unwavering commitment to harnessing the potential of the students in his classroom. And yet, Mr. Kirkland remains as passionate about teaching as he did his first day in the classroom, motivated by the ability to empower students while forging lifelong relationships.

“Teaching was never something I got into for any recognition or accomplishments. I teach because I love seeing the look on a kid’s face when they finally get a problem. I do for the student that comes to me and says ‘I used to dislike math before I joined your class and now, I realize it wasn’t so bad.’ Those moments and relationships are what sustains me.”

Outside of work, Mr. Kirkland is a loving husband, dog owner, and passionate photographer. Inside, he’s a vibrant, empowering presence as students at Somerset College Preparatory grow as scholars. When asked what his favorite moments are day-to-day in the classroom, Mr. Kirkland offers a bit of the trademark humor familiar to the students in his algebra class.

“I could be 94 years old and still wheeling myself out there each day to teach math. I just love being inside the classroom. I love building those personal connections that you can really leverage into something meaningful.”

Mr. Kirkland and Student

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Posted on January 31, 2020 in Awards & Recognition