YES Prep Public Schools
JENNIFER PEREZ

Next in our Teacher Spotlight Series is YES Prep Brays Oaks Secondary's Erica Lapen. A teacher who stands out not just for her dedication to education, but for her commitment to building community, empathy and growth. Ms. Lapen, with her 11 years of service at YES Prep, is an exemplary educator. 

Let's take a closer look at her journey, her strategies and the impact she's had on her students and colleagues. 

The path less traveled 

Erica's journey to becoming an educator wasn't conventional. Growing up on a farm with limited access to modern entertainment, she found solace and inspiration in books. Literature became her window to the world, broadening her perspective and nurturing her empathy. Despite facing obstacles during her college years and pursuing various professional paths, Erica's love for learning and her innate desire to teach persisted. 

Driven by her passion for literature and a deep-seated belief in the power of education, Erica embarked on a journey to fulfill her purpose. With determination and perseverance, she returned to college as an adult, balancing her studies with the responsibilities of motherhood and work. It was through a serendipitous connection with a friend at YES Prep that Erica found her calling. Little did she know her decision to join YES Prep would mark the beginning of an impactful career in education. 

A collaborative approach to teaching 

At the heart of Erica's teaching philosophy lies a simple yet profound idea: collaboration. Viewing her students not just as learners, but as active participants in their own education, Erica fosters a sense of community and responsibility within her classroom. This approach is epitomized by her use of normed Circles, a restorative practice that promotes dialogue, empathy and mutual respect. 

For Erica, teaching is not about being the sole authority in the classroom; it's about empowering students to become agents of change and healing. Through her Restorative Practices class, she equips her students with the skills to facilitate meaningful discussions and cultivate positive relationships. By embracing experiential learning and continuous improvement, Erica has honed her craft and enriched the educational experience of her students. 

Building bridges through relationships 

When asked about the relationships that have shaped her experience at YES Prep, Erica's answer is simple yet profound: students. Over the years, she has had the privilege of teaching thousands of young minds, each contributing their unique perspective and experience. It is through these interactions that Erica has deepened her understanding of humanity, cultivating empathy, humility and gratitude along the way. 

While there are many individual stories that have left an indelible mark on Erica's journey, it is the collective impact of her students that resonates the most. Through their generosity and authenticity, they have not only enriched her life but have also helped her discover more about herself and the world around her.  

As she continues her journey, Erica serves as a beacon of inspiration for educators everywhere, reminding us that teaching is not merely a profession but a lifelong calling to empower hearts and minds. 

Empower the Next Generation!

Are you passionate about making a difference in the lives of students? Do you believe in the power of education to transform communities? If so, YES Prep is looking for educators like you!

At YES Prep, we are committed to fostering a learning environment that is both inclusive and inspiring. We are proud to serve diverse communities across our schools, providing exceptional educational opportunities to students who are eager to learn and grow.

Why Teach at YES Prep?

  • Impact: Every day, you’ll have the chance to directly impact the lives of students, helping them to achieve their academic and personal goals.
  • Community: Join a supportive network of educators who are dedicated to a collaborative and innovative teaching approach.
  • Growth: We believe in investing in our teachers. YES Prep offers numerous professional development opportunities that encourage our teachers to continually enhance their skills and grow professionally.
  • Diversity: Embrace working in a diverse educational setting where inclusivity is prioritized and every student’s background is valued.

We are looking for dynamic, compassionate, and motivated teachers who are eager to work collaboratively to develop and implement engaging educational experiences. Whether you’re a seasoned teacher or just starting your teaching career, YES Prep is a place where your passion for education can truly make a difference. 

Learn more by visiting our website.


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