P is for Rita F. Pierson: Every Child Needs A Champion

Rita was a remarkable teacher. She died at the age of 61 in 2013. Here is the TED appreciation of her life and work.


In the video above Rita gives a rousing and inspiring speech about what it means to be a teacher. Explaining the calling of being a teacher, she says:

Every child deserves a champion – an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.

Teachers become great actors and great actresses. … We come to work when we don’t feel like it, and we’re listening to policy that doesn’t make sense – and we teach anyway.

Here is the TED background to her talk.

Rita Pierson

Rita F. Pierson has spent her entire life in or around the classroom, having followed both her parents and grandparents into a career as an educator.

A professional educator since 1972, she has taught elementary school, junior high and special education. She’s been a counselor, a testing coordinator and an assistant principal. 

In each of these roles, she’s brought a special energy to the role — a desire to get to know her students, show them how much they matter and support them in their growth, even if it’s modest.

For the past decade, Pierson has conducted professional development workshops and seminars for thousands of educators.

Focusing on the students who are too often under-served, she lectures on topics like ‘Helping Under-Resourced Learners,’ ‘Meeting the Educational Needs of African American Boys’ and ‘Engage and Graduate your Secondary Students: Preventing Dropouts.’

Here is an article about her work in The Huffington Post.


Here is another video of Rita in action.

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