In high school I was lucky enough to sit in the classes of two teachers who forever made an impact on my life: Mrs. Bailey, my speech teacher, and Mr. Man, my English teacher. These two teachers believed in me, challenged me, and pushed me outside of my comfort zone to be my very best. They did not just instill in me that I “had potential” but actually pushed me to reach that potential. They helped me realize what I was capable of and gave me the confidence to do more, achieve more, and be more.
These two teachers had such an impact on who I was that I decided shortly after that I wanted to become a teacher and do the same for others: to help students not just see their potential but work toward it.
A few years later that dream became a reality and I found myself teaching Spanish 1 at Ryan High School in Denton. I loved my time in Denton and was grateful for my students, colleagues, and administration. As school started, I knew I needed to join ATPE. I had been a member as a student teacher, so it was a no-brainer that now that I had my own classroom, I needed to become a professional member. I registered online, and that was that.
It wasn’t until year two that I become involved, and only then by luck. I received an email from the Denton local unit that there would be a meeting that involved free dinner. For a young teacher, a free dinner was all it took—I was there. While there I met some very inspiring teachers. A member of the ATPE Governmental Relations team also came to speak about the teaching profession and how ATPE values both public education and teachers. Prior to that night I was a member just because I wanted the insurance coverage. It was at that meeting that I was hooked on the vision and goals of ATPE and decided to become involved with the Denton local unit. In the Denton local unit, I learned from some amazing teachers (thank you, Vicki Storrie!) and attended events such as Lobby Day and Summit, and even got to meet Wendy Davis.
This past semester, I was given the opportunity to step into my current role as the representative for Regions 8 and 10. I could not be more thankful to be part of such an incredible association that advocates on behalf of teachers and that truly is their voice and their ally. Although I am still new to working for ATPE, I have met some of the most incredible teachers—teachers who truly go above and beyond each and every day for their students because they believe the best of them.
Although no longer in the classroom, my professional dream has still come true; it just looks a little bit different than I initially imagined. I am thankful that I get to support members and local units and look forward to what the future holds for ATPE!
Kaki Spronz is ATPE’s representative for Regions 8 and 10. Before becoming an ATPE regional rep, she taught high school Spanish, regular and pre-AP, for four years. She was also the Denton local unit University Liaison.
Photo: Kaki Spronz (left) with Coppell ATPE’s Casey Hubbard and Katie Ewen at the 2016 ATPE Summit.