Speaking Dreams Into Reality
The children that Bryson Green ’16 ’17 works with every day at Dr. George Washington Carver Academy of Mathematics and Science aren’t students. They’re scholars.
“We refer to them as scholars to let them know that we’re speaking what they’re dreaming into existence,” he says.
The 27-year-old Green has been working at Carver since 2013, when the Milwaukee Public Schools K-8 facility was in the first year of an intensive turnaround. As part of a needed culture shift, the term “scholar” was adopted to emphasize that learning is a lifelong process and isn’t confined to the classroom.
Carver is now in year five of its turnaround, and the theme driving this year’s work is #BestForKids. “Everything that we’re doing needs to influence the growth and the character development of all the scholars we educate here at Carver Academy.”
Green’s passion for what he does is evident within just a few minutes of conversation. Despite coming from a family of educators, becoming a teacher wasn’t always an obvious choice for the Milwaukee native and proud MPS graduate. “It’s ingrained in my family’s blood. I was trying to chart my own path, but I just kept getting pulled deeper and deeper. I really answered the call.”
As Green was preparing to graduate from the University of Wisconsin, he was unsure of his next step. He knew people who joined Teach for America’s national teacher corps, committing two years of service at high-need schools across the country. The opportunity to continue community service that focused on kids and to start fresh in a new location appealed to him.
But then he was stationed in Milwaukee, teaching fifth grade at Carver, and realized he had found not just a job but his vocation.
“I can make a list of resources that we don’t have, but I know what lies inside of me. I know that my heart is passionate about education. I have the faith that these scholars will succeed.”
Green, who went on to teach second and third grades at Carver, is now serving in school administration as dean of students. He earned his teacher’s licensure and Master of Arts in Education from Alverno while serving in the Teach for America corps and says the lessons he learned here left a lasting impact.
He specifically recalls taking a course on the psychology of adolescent brains, taught by assistant professor of Education Pamela Lucas.
“It was fascinating to see how the brain operates at the age of adolescence and how I was seeing everything in that textbook playing out in my classroom,” he says. “That class was instrumental in changing my mindset in how I interact with my scholars and figuring out ways to give them more opportunities to change certain behaviors that were undesirable, or to give them opportunities to voice themselves. They really want to feel heard, they want to feel important, and they want to feel cared for.”
Green is now pursuing his principal’s license and a second master’s degree. He also wants to earn his doctorate and hopes to lead at another turnaround school. “I don’t want to go to an established school that’s already successful. I want to go to schools that need the assistance. All kids in Milwaukee deserve a quality education.”
But Green’s biggest dream is one day opening a school of his own in Milwaukee’s 53206 ZIP code, where he currently resides. He is struck by the lack of a library or grocery store in his neighborhood, which has gained attention for having more incarcerated African-American men than any other ZIP code in the country.
“Knowing the struggles that exist, I want to pour my resources and experiences into establishing a community school,” he says. “I have this strong faith that God has placed me to be in Milwaukee and lead turnaround in 53206.”
This article originally appeared in the fall 2017 issue of Alverno Magazine.