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Department Chairperson, 8th Grade Math Teacher, National Honor Society Sponsor, Girls Basketball Coach and Professional Learning Community Lead, Colorado Association of School Executives for Diversity Equity and Inclusion Program certified, Fountain Fort Carson Middle School, District 8

What is your name, what role do you play in education, how long have you been in education?

 My name is Felicia Westland and I have been a math education for 21 years.  I started with twelve years at Carson Middle school and then moved to Fountain after that.  I am from New York City originally and came here to Colorado with the military.  My husband retired from the Air Force.

Why do you think education is important?

Teaching allows you to guide and motivate, inspire all children, especially being a role model of color.  You do not see many of us in the classroom.  I believe that we represent around 2 % in administration.  There are less of us in the administration as Principles.  I am currently taking the Principle Licensure program at UCCS.  We need more of a diverse pool to help our children move into the future and that starts with more people working in the education field.  We may need to change how we review what we are doing to help our kids into the next phase of their lives.

What do you love most about your role in education?

I love the relationship building.  I have built great relationships with kids.  I still am in touch with kids from my first group of kids in the 6th grade.  They are now older, but I felt I have provided them enough tools to prepare them to become future leaders.

What is the best advice you have received about impacting the education sector?

Over the years I have gleaned from leaders, trust and relationships are important.  Great teacher leaders and other have stated that flexibility and adapting what comes across you are your desk.  I have learned that we must treat our kids like they are the most important person and then they will do the best for you.  Take a day or two to really get to know them and their interests.  Respect them and you will garner that respect from them.  It is those connections and conversations that you will never forget.  Love what you do.  And when you wake up one day and that is no longer what you want to do then its time for you to go.

What advice would you give the younger generation about their education?

Explore opportunities.  Set goals and talk to people about paths.  Develop educational paths.  Position yourself at a level to attain what you are looking for and do not be afraid to make a charge for it.  Find your passion and just follow it.

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