Dominique Cureton was working at a large corporation in Atlanta when she realized she was not in a position to be able to contribute to her community in the way she wanted to. Those feelings intensified after the birth of her daughter, and it motivated her to think about how she could switch careers. “My daughter gave me clarity of purpose. I had been volunteering with kids and coaching a youth basketball league, but it wasn’t enough.”
She decided to return to the city she grew up in to give back. Dominique applied and was accepted to the Indianapolis Teaching Fellows (ITF) program, part of the broader The New Teacher Project umbrella, which is dedicated to transforming accomplished professionals and college graduates into excellent teachers. She went through a rigorous teacher-training program with ITF and ultimately received her masters in teaching from Marian University and certification.
She is now in her third year with KIPP Indy as a 7th grade literacy teacher and the grade level team leader. Dominique also has a focus on special education and is responsible for teaching inclusion classes.
She says that teaching at KIPP Indy motivates her because, “I have the opportunity to shape young lives, build them up, and motivate them to create change for the future. The key to solving many societal issues we currently face lies with the youth of this country.”
Dominique also appreciates that teaching has made her feel part of a community of people who care about her as a person, not just about the results she’s achieving. She has felt valued from the start of her teaching career. “I received four thank you cards during my first week of teaching, acknowledging the sacrifices I was making with my new career.” It made her want to pay it forward to her students.
One of Dominique’s favorite experiences at KIPP Indy so far was a poetry slam she organized. “Nearly all of my students got really into it and even the students that didn’t want to perform asked some of my bolder students to read for them.” Many students talked about really personal things in their poems, and some of the poems were later included in a musical performance.
One of Dominique’s favorite things about KIPP Indy is our focus on the well-being of the entire child. “I don’t remember [my teachers] caring about the whole person. I don’t remember being taught or nurtured in that way.”
At KIPP Indy, Dominique says that a lot is asked of teachers, but a lot is also given. “I am surrounded by people who want to make things better. KIPP Indy isn’t fearful of difficult situations – we acknowledge that things can be difficult. Our students face really big problems and that can be tough.”