A United States Marines Corps veteran who brought her high standards and compassion to the science classroom at E.B. Frink Middle School is being recognized this month by Honored, a nonprofit organization dedicated to elevating teachers.
Sequoia Aldridge was selected among educators across the nation and is featured as the August honoree on the national websiste, honored.org. The recognition comes with a profile penned by author Andrew Exum, a fellow veteran and contributing editor at The Atlantic magazine.
Aldridge found herself drawn to teaching after 30 years of service and leadership in the armed forces. Exum writes:
Along the way, though, Mrs. Aldridge became something else – an identity that fills her with even more pride than that of being a Marine: she became a mother. And as Chief Warrant Officer Aldridge watched her daughter Javaria grow up, she grew frustrated by what she saw in her daughter’s schools. She grew frustrated that as Javaria became a teenager – critical years in any child’s development – she wasn’t getting the mentoring she needed from her teachers, and Mrs. Aldridge wasn’t getting the communication she wanted back from Javaria’s teachers.
When Aldridge retired from the Marines, she joined Teach For America to help a new generation develop the “warrior” mindset. Aldridge holds her students to the same high standards as her troops, inspiring success through the service-focused leadership style she developed as an officer. Her hands-on approach to teaching has transformed the academic trajectory of her students, including Frely Fuentez.
“She tells me to keep dreaming big,” Frely says, “and to accomplish those dreams, little by little.”
While she is described by her students as having a “strong voice that can control the whole room,” Aldridge says her compassion for others is the greatest takeaway from her time in the Marine Corps.
“I’m a teacher, a mentor, a life coach,” said Aldridge, “who just happens to teach science.”
Aldridge’s story was written for Honored by Exum, who previously served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Middle East policy at the Pentagon. Exum began his career as an officer in the U.S. Army and fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.
To read the full story and see photos of Aldridge with her students, click here.
Honored is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to elevating the status of teaching in the United States. Each month, Honored shines a spotlight on a teacher who has changed the life of a single student. The honoree receives a $5,000 cash award, and Honored recruits a world-class writer to tell their story. Honorees are selected from K-12 teachers of all subjects at public, private and charter schools across the country.