Spotlight: Elise Tureau Frederic (LA '22)March 8, 2023
Elise Tureau Frederic (LA ’22) was “underprepared and overwhelmed” during her first year in the classroom. Her school leaders and coworkers got her through it: “I am so thankful they saw potential in me.” Lowell Milken named her a Milken Educator at Lakeside Primary in Ascension Public Schools on January 24, 2023.
Milken Family Foundation: What do you like about working with elementary students?
Elise Tureau Frederic (LA ’22): The kids are only little for a short time, so I love that they get to be little with me. They are hilarious, creative, and so much fun! I love watching my students blossom into readers, writers, and mathematicians.
MFF: You have delved into the science of reading and incorporated many of its literacy strategies. How has this approach helped your students develop this fundamental skill?
Elise: I have a passion for literacy. There are many students who find learning to read to be extremely difficult. I dove into the science of reading to try to find ways to help those students. I have learned about how the brain learns to read and how our instruction is what shapes the reading brain. I had to let go of practices and materials that do not help to develop a reading brain. I am working to ensure that all of my students have the foundational skills needed to become skilled readers. A skilled reader is an independent and lifelong learner.
MFF: How has your work with NIET [the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching] and TAP [the Tap System for Teacher and Student Advancement] influenced your practice? What benefits do you see for students?
Elise: My students and I are the products of the job-embedded professional development TAP structure. We continuously analyze data to determine student need and make a plan to address those needs. NIET has many resources we use to grow as educators so our students can thrive.
MFF: How did you end up in education?
Elise: I have wanted to be an educator from a young age. I loved to play school as a young child and have always respected and admired my teachers.
MFF: How did your first year of teaching go?
Elise: I was underprepared and overwhelmed in my first year of teaching. It was very difficult. I was not equipped to deal with the challenging behaviors in my classroom. I felt defeated every day and wondered if I had chosen the wrong profession. I had to work really hard and required a lot of support from my school leaders and coworkers to grow into an effective teacher. I am so thankful that they saw potential in me.
I grew as an educator and a teacher leader when we became a TAP school [in partnership with NIET]. I have thrived through job-embedded professional development and the expectation of continuous improvement. As a TAP mentor, the opportunity to see students learning in other classrooms has also been instrumental in my growth as an educator.
MFF: How did you feel at your Milken Educator Award notification?
Elise: I knew of the Milken Educator Awards for many years and always wondered when and if it would be given to anyone in my area. I felt that we have many deserving educators. When I saw Mr. [Lowell] Milken before the assembly, I thought maybe he was there to give an Award. I never thought it would be for me! I was humbled to learn that my coworkers were sure Mr. Milken was going to call my name.
MFF: How did students respond to your Milken Award?
Elise: They were excited for me. I have watched the announcement video many times and am touched by the sheer joy on their faces as my name was called. I think they will always remember that day. Other students in my school have been congratulating me in the hallway. It is nice to see how proud they are.
MFF: How do you define “success” for yourself, and for your students?
Elise: Any movement toward a goal or standard is success and should be celebrated. Success means not only reaching goals, but also the growth toward them. For my students, success is mastering the knowledge and skills that are required by our first grade standards. Success for me is seeing light bulbs turn on for my students. I live for those “aha” moments and the pride on my students’ faces when they realize what they know!
MFF: Who are your role models?
Elise: Some of my favorite teachers through school were Sister Ameline, Mrs. T, Mrs. Moak, and Mrs. Swacker. Throughout my career, I have been blessed to work with many talented educators and instructional leaders.
MFF: What do you hope students remember from their time with you?
Elise: I hope they remember that they worked hard, felt accomplished, and learned to read.
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