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#WhyIChoseEducation: ‘Education Has the Power to Uplift or Dismantle, to Give Voice or to Silence, to Promote Justice or to Perpetuate Injustice,’ Says Director of the Master of Arts in Teaching Program Micha Jeffries

Micha Jeffries

This is part of a monthly “Why I Chose Education” series in which NC State College of Education alumni, students, faculty and staff share why they chose education.

Micha Jeffries, Ph.D., came to the NC State College of Education in 2007 to be part of the first faculty team to serve in the new elementary education program. That was the main reason she was attracted to NC State and was excited for the opportunity to join the program.

She started as an assistant professor and moved into the role as coordinator of the elementary education concentration within the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program, while serving as a teaching assistant professor. Now, Jeffries serves as the director of the MAT program.

“The MAT program is designed to increase the College of Education’s capacity to enhance the teacher pipeline by attracting non-traditional teacher candidates. Our students have a depth of content knowledge and professional experiences,” she said. “The MAT course of study is designed to integrate research-based teaching practices with theory to prepare our students for diverse classrooms.”

Over her 13 years in the college, Jeffries has enjoyed the opportunities she’s had to be creative and innovative. When she isn’t on the NC State campus, she enjoys traveling with her family, where they usually try to combine leisure travel with opportunities to explore the history and culture of their various travel destinations. Jeffries shares why she chose education and how education has shaped her into the educator she is today.

Why I Chose Education: I had the good fortune to spend my days as a young child with my great-great-grandmother. Early on, I did more picture reading and creative narration of the story than actual reading. She would insist that I read to her for hours each day, as reading wasn’t an opportunity afforded to many African Americans during her time, including herself. She gave me my passion for books and a love of learning. Teaching, particularly African American students, allows me to share my love of learning and provide an opportunity that many of our ancestors could not begin to imagine.

Why I Chose the NC State College of Education: I was drawn to the new (at that time) elementary education program. The chance to be part of the faculty in this program attracted me to the NC State College of Education.

How Education Has Shaped Me: Education has the power to uplift or dismantle, to give voice or to silence, to promote justice or to perpetuate injustice. Each of these actions is impactful. This knowledge has shaped my charge as an educator. It challenges me to work to create future teachers who are change agents. Hopefully, in their classrooms, students will receive an equitable education that uplifts, gives voice and promotes justice.

What Others Should Know About the College of Education: Because of North Carolina State University’s land-grant mission, we are uniquely positioned to serve the schools of North Carolina.

The Last Thing I Saw That Inspired Me: This quote from Nelson Mandela has consistently inspired me, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” I have been reflecting on its meaning a great deal lately. I hope my role, past and present, in the groups in which I hold space personally and professionally serves to impact others positively.