Alumni Spotlight: Mary Myles, Teach for America

Eller PDC Alumni Stories

Mary Mylesby Mary Myles ’13

A recent graduate, I received my Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with majors in Marketing, Business Management and Entrepreneurship from the Eller College, Honors College in May 2013. I was fortunate to represent the Eller student voice as the President of the Eller College Student Council and to preserve the welfare of the University of Arizona as a member of the Bobcats Senior Honorary.  I am currently a Teach for America Corps Member in Dallas, Texas, where I teach kindergarten at a founding KIPP Charter School, KIPP Destiny Elementary.

KIPP is a national network of college preparatory public charter schools that caters to underserved communities to promote higher education achievement. Currently, 1.6% of students in south Dallas are considered “college ready.” As a passionate advocate for higher education, myself and our founding faculty at KIPP are working to combat this statistic. KIPP Destiny Elementary will be not only the first KIPP Elementary School in Dallas, but also the start of the DFW region. I feel humbled and blessed to build a legacy that will reshape south Dallas education for several years to come. While the experience has brought on immense challenges and required an unremitting dedication, there is no greater feeling than knowing you’ve instilled a spirit of inquiry in a five-year-old child.

When I first decided to join Teach for America, several questioned how teaching could possibly align with the business world. While I did not become a TFA Corps Member to enter the business world, when looking through my “Eller lens” I have discovered that the two have vast similarities…and not just because if you can sell 5-year-olds the idea of a structured environment without cartoons, you can sell anything. Serving as one of 12 founding teachers at a startup school has directly aligned with my entrepreneurial experience in the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship. Course concepts from Professor Broschak’s team management lecture as well as Professor Wallendorf’s Consumer Behavior course, which provided explicit detail about child development, are now more applicable than ever. I have been provided the opportunity to not only build the foundation for a school vision, brand and culture but to “sell our mission” to the south Dallas community and the KIPP foundation board. Above all, I analyze our student data to determine how I can continue to innovate and best meet the needs of my students, America’s future leaders.