Collegiate Academy Alum Returns to Alma Mater for First Teaching Job
Posted on 08/04/2022
Avery Jones in Classroom

The summer before she began high school, Avery Jones had just moved back to Texas, was looking for a small school and wanted to get an early start on college coursework. She found just the right place at the GCISD Collegiate Academy at Tarrant County College Northeast, which allows students to work on their high school diplomas and associate degrees at the same time.

Now just three years after her high school graduation, she’s going back to Collegiate Academy — as the school’s new Algebra 2 teacher.

“Since I went to Collegiate Academy, I think I’ll be able to help students adjust from middle school to high school and college classes much easier,” she said. “I personally went through what they will be going through, so I’ll be able to help them transition easier. I know I struggled with studying and taking good notes a lot in the beginning, so I would love to help my students figure out what works best for them.”

Avery Jones at Collegiate Academy GraduationCollegiate Academy opened as a collaboration between GCISD and TCC in 2014 and serves nearly 400 students. Class sizes are small and the curriculum blends high school and college instruction. In addition, students learn approaches and strategies that will help them succeed at four-year colleges and universities. For example, Collegiate Academy uses a challenge-based approach to learning, in which students must act in order to solve a problem instead of passively receiving information, equipping them with the problem-solving skills necessary to succeed at any college or in any career. Students also attend Pathways classes that focus on writing, inquiry, collaboration, reading and strategies for success such as time management and study skills.

Jones had long wanted to be a teacher, but it wasn’t until she chose a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) track at Collegiate Academy that she started thinking about teaching math.

“I was always helping my friends with their math homework and I really enjoyed thinking of different ways to explain it,” she said.

After earning her high school diploma and her associate’s degree as part of the second-ever graduating class at Collegiate Academy, she headed to East Texas to enroll at Stephen F. Austin State University, where she had received scholarship help and was drawn to the beautiful campus and small classes. She also was interested in a new program at the time, JacksTeach, which is a secondary education program specifically for STEM teachers. She earned her degree and math teaching certification earlier this year.

Jones liked the idea of returning to Collegiate Academy as a teacher but figured she might have to wait a while for a math teaching job to come open. That all changed when she went to a job fair for teachers at Stephen F. Austin and Alex Fingers, the Principal at Grapevine High School, informed her that Collegiate Academy was seeking an Algebra 2 teacher. She followed up, went through the interview process with GCISD, and is now ready to teach at the same high school she was drawn to as a student.

“I always thought I would want to return to Collegiate Academy at some point, but I definitely didn’t think it would be my first year teaching,” she said. “Since I was a first-generation college student, I had to learn a lot about going to college on my own. I thought returning to Collegiate Academy would give me a chance to help the many other first-generation students there, too.”