Position: Special Education Teacher
School: North Providence High School
School District: North Providence School District
City, State: North Providence, RI
Music that Describes Stacy
Stacy Pokora was nominated by David Upegui, the parent of a student.
Teachers are responsible for the preparation of the future stewards of the earth. The people who we entrust with this enormous responsibility have to deal with many challenges, including the individual-level differences of students, as well as the socio-cultural trends of the time. It takes a very special type of person to take on this task and dedicate their lives to ensuring a better future for our world. Therefore, it's tremendously rare to find extraordinary teachers that stand out from this already dedicated crowd. Ms. Pokora is one of these exceptional teachers that makes a world of difference in the lives of her students and their families.
"Few people demonstrate the kind of patience, respect, and compassion that Ms. Pokora shows her students," said Upegui. "As a parent of a child with special needs, it is challenging to see how difficult it is for some children to be treated with respect and dignity. I have witnessed how quickly my son has been dismissed, ignored, or worse, mistreated by some people because he was born with an extra chromosome. While others have 'tolerated' him, few people in our lives have truly stepped up and treated him as the amazing human being he is. Ms. Pokora encourages, guides, teaches, academically challenges, inspires, and humanizes my son! By doing so, she has made his schooling experience a fruitful and meaningful one."
"When issues or challenges arise, as they are likely to do, Ms. Pokora has helped us navigate these troubled waters with great determination and aspiration," said Upegui. "Importantly, Ms. Pokora’s approach and demeanor are not limited to my son, as I have witnessed how she has empowered many other students and their families. Her leadership is palpable, as she is a fierce advocate for her students and for others with disabilities. She commands her classroom with ease, love, and intentionality."
"Ms. Pokora represents the very best of our humanity—a kind and compassionate academic who chose to celebrate the diversity of our world by providing a safe, productive classroom environment," said Upegui. "My son would not be who he is today without Ms. Pokora and her dedication to him and the rest of her students. I can attest that she has been instrumental in the transformation of many lives. Not only does she treat each of her students with great respect and care, but she also ensures that they have access to opportunities that enrich their lives, as she coaches the 'unified' sports teams and even runs an after school club with peer models."
The love that Ms. Pokora's students have for her is truly remarkable and well-deserved. By being the amazing teacher that she is, she has ensured that her students, their families, and the whole school, have the ability to see the value of all human lives and grow as individuals and collectively.