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Meet TLI: Samantha Aponte

What do you do at TLI? 

I serve as a Manager of Teacher Development with TLI. Much like every member on our team, we wear a lot of hats! In this capacity I design and facilitate professional development and coach teachers in various districts. We empower teachers to leverage their talents and prior experiences to create quality content, safe learning spaces, and address injustice in the classroom.

How did your career path lead you to TLI? 

I began my career in education in 2015 in Oklahoma City Public Schools teaching fifth grade ELA and absolutely fell in love with the content and kids.Soon after, I moved to Tulsa and continued teaching before transitioning to being a school leader. I developed an interest in adult education while working on my masters in Teaching, Learning, and Leadership from OSU. I leveraged my learning from my program to guide my instructional coaching as well as craft meaningful professional development. Through this, I was able to better see the impact it had on teachers and students alike. I was drawn to the work TLI was doing across the state and wanted to be a part of their mission to “develop highly capable educators so students have access to an equitable education.”

What is your favorite thing about doing this work? 

Connecting and collaborating with teachers! Meeting teachers (especially those new to the profession) from across the state. Hearing their unique perspectives, reflections, and experiences gives my work additional purpose and meaning. 

What do you hope for students in Oklahoma?

Students in every district, school, and grade should have access to grade-appropriate work, data driven instruction, a supportive network, and teachers with high expectations. This should be true for all students, regardless of their race, ethnicity, sexuality, or any other part of their identity. My hope is that students across the state, especially our students of color, know that their voice and experiences matter, and they deserve to get a great education in a safe and welcoming learning space. For this to be true, I hope that their teachers receive the development, pay, and resources they need to ensure all students can achieve at high levels. 

What else should we know about you?

I am originally from Miami, FL, but have found a home in Oklahoma in the last 7 years with great friends and two happy pups. Outside of work I enjoy cooking and spend a lot of time hosting friends (virtually and in person). I find a lot of joy in bringing folks together! 

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