Zondra Howard is the Director of Enrichment and drama teacher at Harriet Tubman Charter School. A graduate of Louisiana State University, she holds a B.A. in English and African American Studies. Howard, who has eight years of experience inside the classroom, recently received her Master of Arts in Teaching from the Relay Graduate School of Education.
Howard originally became a teacher to give back to the New Orleans community. “I am a New Orleans native, and growing up here I was inspired to teach by those who taught me. My teachers were the ones who helped me to find my gifts and talents, to believe in myself, and to know that if I worked hard enough I could achieve anything,” she said. It was after Hurricane Katrina that Howard realized just how much she wanted to use her experience in education to give back to her hometown. “I wanted to be an inspiration to scholars the same way my teachers were to me. The opportunity to do this in New Orleans, with scholars from a community similar to mine, allowed me to be an active participant in rebuilding the city I love.”
Howard’s favorite part of working in education is having the opportunity to watch her students experience what she calls the “I can do it!” moment. “It is special to see a scholar overcome his or her self-doubt through grit and hard work,” she said. “It is inspiring when a scholar, who has struggled with reading in the past, becomes an independent reader for the first time. It is truly an amazing thing to witness.”
Being in the classroom gives Howard the opportunity to empower her students. “Education is power, and every time a child learns a new skill or becomes better at something, he or she becomes a little more powerful. When that happens, it is a moment I can look back on and know that I have done my part as an educator; that is what is most rewarding to me,” she said.
Howard, who was a founding staff member of Harriet Tubman, is celebrating her fifth year at the school. She credits much of her professional growth over the past five years to the support she has received from colleagues and Principal Julie Lause. “Since joining Crescent City Schools, I have grown in many areas of my teaching craft. I have a better understanding of how to provide small group instruction and how I can use data to guide the decisions I make in the classroom,” she said. “I know that I could not be as confident as I am now in either of these areas if it wasn’t for the team at Harriet Tubman.”