Each month, we’ll be introducing you to a new School on Wheels staff member so you can learn more about the people who make our programs run successfully! This month, we’ll highlight Erin Brown, our Program Manager! She started out at School on Wheels as the Dayspring Center Program Coordinator – read on to learn more!
What is your role at School on Wheels?
I am the Program Manager. I am sort of the go-between for the Program Coordinators, the sites and the staff. My goal is to make sure the Program Coordinators are able to do their jobs and to provide support for them and the rest of the programming staff.
What did you do before you came here?
I was a High School History teacher in Indianapolis Public Schools. Prior to that I worked at a Community Development Corporation in Fountain Square, as my Masters is in Urban Planning with a focus on Community Development.
Why did you decide to join the School on Wheels team?
I had to quit my job at IPS when my daughter was born because she was in the hospital for so long; and then she was homebound for a year. School on Wheels popped up as an opportunity when I was getting very upset about not being out in the workforce anymore and it was a nighttime PC position. I thought it was the perfect fit because it combined both of my backgrounds. I feel very strongly about education being a way out of poverty, and on a bigger scale, making the city of Indianapolis a better place to live.
What’s your favorite thing about your job?
I love a lot. I love the staff here. I love that I go home and tell my husband stories about tutoring and they’re GOOD stories. I’m not complaining about how hard it is. I love the tutors and how much they care. And I love meeting all these great kids.
Can you share one of your favorite tutoring stories?
When I was a PC at Dayspring I had a student who HATED to read, to the point where he would get so worked up that we’d have to step out of the room when his tutors pushed him to do it. I started working with him on a chapter book that we would take turns reading. Whenever there weren’t enough tutors for 1-1 I would work with him. I would tell his tutors our reading arrangement, so they could continue with his progress. When the end of the year came around he wrote me a note thanking me for helping him learn to read his first chapter book. When the kids picked their books to take home he came up to me and said he ONLY wanted chapter books now. I almost cried.
What’s one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?
I get up at 5am every morning ON PURPOSE. I am a super nerd about genealogy and early mornings are the only time I can spend some time doing online research without a 2-year old trying to help me. I am a direct descendant of two Mayflower passengers….just in case you were wondering.