Teacher Spotlight — November 2021

Meet Ms. Darees Shields | Ninth Grade Algebra 1 Teacher | KIPP DC College Preparatory

Ms. Darees Shields is a ninth grade Algebra 1 teacher at KIPP DC College Preparatory and November’s Teacher Spotlight! Ms. Shields is a graduate of Towson University with a bachelor’s degree in Finance and also recently obtained her master’s in educational leadership from Loyola University (MD). Ms. Shields joined KIPP DC this year after spending more than 20 years in education in a variety of teaching and leadership roles.

“I would describe my classroom as warm and engaging. I love interacting with my students and having fun with them. They teach me as much as I teach them.” 

As much as Ms. Shields has brought a wealth of experience and knowledge to her role as Algebra 1 teacher at KIPP DC College Preparatory, her classroom impact extends beyond mastery of content and into a strong sense of belonging for each student inside her classroom.

“You have to build those relationships with your students, and the way you do it is by showing them who you are. I’m very transparent with them. I’m someone that always wants to learn, and I share my love of learning with my students.”

Outside of her role, Ms. Shields homeschools her two children and is also a tutor, which, as she describes, means that “The teacher hat always stays on.”

Homeschooling her 15-year old son, who is autistic, also gives her an avenue to connect with the students she teaches on a deeper level as a special educator. This extends outside of her role with KIPP DC and into a mentoring program she created to help mentor students with disabilities and get them to and through college. So far, 100% of her mentees have gone on to attend college or pursue an alternate career path.

But at her core, having spent two decades in education and now continuing to make an impact on students at KIPP DC, she feels as though this is the work she is supposed to be doing.

“I feel like I’m making a difference. Even as a little girl, when I played school, I was always the teacher. Or, I think back to being a babysitter as a teenager. This is all in line with what I’m supposed to be doing and what my purpose is.”

Looking ahead, Ms. Shields wants to use the knowledge and experience to help mentor and develop other educators, either through school leadership or coaching.

“My future goal is to help keep the great teachers that we have here and build them. I feel like I have so much experience and so much to give that can help our teachers, that I would love to be in a position to support them and give back.”

From teaching students to potentially one-day teaching teachers, Ms. Shields is a phenomenal educator and one that continues to make a profound difference within our KIPP DC College Preparatory school community. We are proud to feature her as this month’s Teacher Spotlight and look forward to her many positive contributions to our students’ educational journeys.

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Posted on November 17, 2021 in Awards & Recognition