Tulsa ACE Advocates: Truly One of A Kind
No man is an island, pay it forward, and those little fruit snacks from Costco.
This is to say support comes in all shapes and sizes. Everybody needs it. Nobody is completely self-sufficient (no matter what they may claim!), and it is human nature to depend on each other. Sometimes support is given, and other times it’s received. It works both ways, and can be anything from good advice, to a kind word, or even just a well-timed Costco run.
ACE Tulsa is a prime example.
ACE teachers are passionate, hard-working leaders from our nation’s top universities. After 25 years, we know that our most effective and impactful teachers are the ones who know how to ask for and receive help and support. Because of this, the ACE Teaching Fellows program has built support networks for our teachers, including academic supervisors, pastoral administrators, school leaders, and local mentor teachers all prepared to assist with the challenges a new teacher is bound to experience.
ACE Teaching Fellows currently serve in four Catholic schools in the Diocese of Tulsa. These first- and second-year teachers bring a unique energy and dedication to their elementary, middle, and high school classrooms. On any given day, you’ll find Ms. Sharman empowering her young third grade students as they put into practice the empathetic conflict resolution techniques learned from one of the class’s many community conversations. Across town, you can see Mr. O’Connor welcoming his students into his anatomy class with a bright smile, casual conversation, and the promise of his unyielding support as they begin its first dissection.
The ACE teachers are prepared to welcome and love their students in these ways because they themselves have been welcomed and loved. "My first memory of moving into the ACE Tulsa house was defined by our ACE Advocates,” Melissa Jaskiewicz (ACE 24, Tulsa) says. “Walking through the front door, we found almost every good thing you could possibly buy at Costco piled upon the dining room table. We knew right away that we were welcomed and wanted.”
Tulsa ACE Advocates, Laura Andrews (ACE 17, Brownsville) and April Adalim (ACE 21, Tulsa) led the group responsible for the Costco snack welcoming. Adalim shared that the group’s main focus this year is ensuring the current teachers feel welcomed and supported in Tulsa--especially in the time surrounding the transformative December retreat experience.
Adalim explained that this truly was a group effort: “William Liedl (ACE 19, Tulsa) helped buy a new vacuum for their house because they desperately needed one. Tim Wynmore (ACE 19, Tulsa) dropped them off at the airport, and then Anthony Barber (ACE 14, Kansas City) picked them up.” While the ACE teachers were gone for retreat, a few of Adalim’s eighth-grade students, who had their first ACE teacher, Will Newkirk (ACE 19, Tulsa), in third grade, cleaned the entire ACE house and raked the leaves in their yard. And last but not least, when the ACE teachers returned home from the retreat, Andrews had dinner waiting for them.
Wynmore thought that it was an easy decision to help support the ACE teachers. “We ACE 19s benefited so much from the hospitality and friendship of those ACErs in Tulsa who had gone before us,” he said. “Now that I'm an ACE grad and Advocate, I'm thankful I was able to help out the current ACErs, especially leading up to the respite that is December Retreat.”
Jaskiewicz and the Tulsa ACE community truly appreciate the kindness they have been shown. Jaskiewicz remembers her first day in her new home: “[On our first day in Tulsa, the ACE Advocates left us] a note that assured us we had people who cared if we needed anything. That note remains tacked up in our house to this day, and the people behind the scenes that took care of everything when we moved in have since become some of our best friends in Tulsa.”
Because the ACE teachers feel welcomed and loved, they are freed to put all of their energy into creating this same sense of home in their classrooms. “Our ACE experience has been defined by our amazing community here. We are so thankful for everything that they have done for us, but most of all for the friendships that we been blessed to create! The Tulsa community is truly one of a kind," says Jaskiewicz. Inspired by the example of the ACE Advocates and their other sources of support, ACE Tulsa is building community one classroom conversation, handshake, and smile at a time.
Want to learn more about ACE Advocates? Contact Dr. Kati Macaluso to get involved or start yoru own ACE Advocates Region!