Nzapa’Naye Deborah Kossia, Special Education teacher and sixth-grade level chair at YES Prep Northbrook Middle
I am originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, but my family and I moved to the Dalla-Fort Worth metroplex when I was seven. We came here as refugees due to a civil war that was occurring in my country at the time. I lived in Dallas-Forth Worth for the remainder of my adolescent years before attending The University of Texas at Austin for my undergraduate degree. I majored in both Economics and Marketing with minors in International Business and African and African American Studies.
Upon graduating college, I started working for Macy’s as part of their Executive Development Program where I had the opportunity to work with and manage key business across North Houston. After working for Macy’s for two and a half years, I decided I wanted to take my life in a different direction that felt more purposeful and fulfilling; I decided to jump into education. My love for learning led me to YES Prep and I have been teaching here ever since.
Shared vision and mission
After deciding that I wanted to shift into the education field, I started looking into teaching programs and opportunities. I decided to join Teach for America but had to decline when I was told that I needed to move to a different city. I was finally starting to get adjusted to Houston and I knew that relocating again would have a negative impact on me. When I told my friend the disappointment with how everything turned out with Teach for America, she connected me with a YES Prep alumni who told me all about the mission of YES Prep. I was elated that there was an organization here in Houston that had everything that I was looking for in terms of shared vision and mission surrounding education. I immediately went online to apply for a position and got hired at Northbrook Middle School. I have been working here since then.
I am currently completing my fifth year with YES Prep. During my time here at YES Prep Northbrook Middle, I have been a Reading Intervention teacher, a Special Education educator and a Grade Level Chair. Each role I have been in has helped me grow in so many ways professionally and personally. I have constantly been supported in ways that have allowed me to build my skills as an educator to underserved communities, stretch my creativity and exercise my voice.
YES Prep empowers students
One of the things I love and admire about YES Prep’s Special Education program is that it is not a program built to just funnel kids through the system with the excuse that they have special needs. Our program is not one that leaves children ill-equipped to handle the real world by having low expectations of their capabilities. Instead YES Prep’s special education departments ensure that students are engaged in ways that will increase their college readiness and ensure that they will be able to live choice-filled lives upon high school graduation. YES does this by creating special education programs and services that foster a culture that constantly recognizes the uniqueness of every child and empowering our students to take charge of their learning through self-advocacy, grit and giving themselves grace.
YES is an educational organization that goes beyond just being satisfied with providing education to the Houston populace. YES strives to make a real impact in closing the educational equity gap and providing a quality educational experience designed to grow the whole child from underserved communities. With this mission in mind, YES is also an organization that understands that the achievement of this mission is not possible without the right talents and investment in talent.
Right fit for teachers and parents
At YES teachers receive a lot of training and support that allows them to feel equipped to not only perform in their role. Teachers are also given encouragement and a platform to exercise their voice to bring about positive meaningful changes in their classrooms, school and beyond!
A parent should entrust us with their children because we embrace and fully live out the idea that students are more than their abilities. We believe and advocate for the right and opportunity of EVERY child, no matter their circumstances, to live a choice filled life!