Meet Ms. Manuela Ellison | Assistant Teacher | KIPP DC Connect Academy
Manuela Ellison is an assistant teacher at KIPP DC Connect Academy and September’s Teacher Spotlight! Ms. Ellison joined in 2015 and currently helps lead the creative workshop classroom at Connect Academy, where she brings ideas and lessons to life for our early childhood students. Before joining KIPP DC, Ms. Ellison taught at another charter school in Washington, D.C. for 14 years and ran a daycare in her native Cape Verde, Africa.
“I enjoy working with the early childhood age group the most. You definitely have to have patience and energy when teaching the younger kids, but I always leave the classroom with a sense of joy.”
The creative workshop classroom that Ms. Ellison leads brings lessons students are learning in Math and Science to life. Leaning on her background as an artist, she’ll decorate and transform the classroom into a jungle if students are learning about forests and animals. If students are learning about sea animals, naturally, the classroom then becomes an aquarium.
“My favorite moments are when students are getting picked up by their parents in the afternoon, and the students run to them and want to bring them back to the classroom to see the ‘aquarium’ or the ‘forest’. It shows that they are not only excited to show what they learned, also proud of the new things they learned.”
Outside of the love and pride she has for teaching our students, Ms. Ellison also expresses a deep appreciation for the school culture at Connect Academy during her six years with the team.
“I feel valued and respected here. I feel the love from the admin team and the people I work with. It feels like a family. It helps that we are all here for our students, so we work together to make sure school is a fun place for our students to come and that they are actively learning.”
Ms. Ellison also runs an after-school art club at Connect Academy and, in her spare time, enjoys long-distance running and painting. Looking back on her journey in education that started in her home country and continues to this day with the work she does at Connect Academy, Ms. Ellison says her students continue to make each day special for her.
“My whole life I have been working with kids and this feels like what I am supposed to be doing. I feel like I am making a difference with my students.