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Dotha Howell: Filling the gaps

Central 1 Learning Community Teacher Assistant of the Year Dotha Howell is best described as someone who fills gaps. “Where there is a learning gap with a student, Ms. Howell fills it and does so with grace”, said Reid Park Academy Principal Samantha Mazzone. 

The Reid Park Academy teacher assistant has worked in CMS for 20 years. Her journey at Reid Park started with substituting in the Pre-K EC department. A year later she was hired as a full-time teaching assistant. Howell exhibits joy in everything she does. While covering classes she doesn’t sit passively by and let students do busy work. Instead, she delivers direct instruction and circulates around the room to provide students with academic feedback. 

During her tenure at Reid Park Academy, Howell has adapted to the changing landscape of education and how her role fits within those changes. “The life of a teacher assistant had transitioned down through the years,” said Howell. “We are no longer paper checkers. Our job entails being able to be flexible. Throughout the day we do various activities from working in the office, covering classes and various activities.” 

Howell also takes time to pull small groups of students aside for the purpose of providing them with additional literacy practice. It’s this asset-based mindset that allows Howell to build strong relationships with students, staff and even parents. “Words are powerful tools; they can build up or destroy,” said Howell. “As an educator, we have a precious gift we share every day with scholars .We must create a never ending in scholars' minds.” 

Howell is shocked and humbled by the recognition, saying it represents one of the greatest achievements in her life. “The honor of being recognized for what you enjoy doing daily is enormously gratifying.”

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