Meet Vannissa Lewis, Behavior Therapist/Instructional Assistant.
A self-described “people person” Vannissa discovered her penchant for psychology in high school and then earned her bachelor’s degree in the field. She held jobs in retail sales, customer service, and tutoring, but a growing interest in behavior disorders pulled her towards special education. In 2015, she joined us at the Learning Academy, a K-12 school dedicated to helping students who face significant challenges. Vannissa instructs students alongside the special education teachers and assists with all aspects of classroom management.
Vannissa says the school program is, at its heart, transformational. Students come to the program when they are struggling to learn in the traditional classroom. The Learning Academy team creates personalized teaching and learning plans that address each student’s unique concerns. The aspiration for every student is to transition back to their public school equipped with new skills, coping mechanisms, and confidence in their abilities.
As a behavior therapist, Vannissa supports the whole child in the process of achieving their academic and social goals. She and her colleagues pave the road to success step by step, celebrating each small victory throughout every day. The best thing about her role is “seeing the incredible growth and transformation in the students.” She says “when a student leaves my heart is happy” because she knows they are headed for a full life, through a renewal of learning, growth and friendships.
Vannissa’s joy and commitment is bolstered by her colleagues. Team members “lift each other up and share a special bond based the work they do.” She shares that “this job is not for everyone, the work can be difficult at times, and draining.” But for Vannissa and her like-minded peers “making such a positive impact in a child’s life is something that just can’t be replaced.” She also credits school administrators for their continuous support and encouragement, never hesitating to give a shout out to staff for a job well done.
Vannissa is excited to continue making an impact at the Learning Academy and also to start graduate classes this fall. She’s pursuing a master’s degree in education. In it for the long haul, Vannissa aspires to lead her own classroom as a special education teacher.
Vannissa is living our mission--to empower individuals and strengthen communities every day. We are honored to have her on our team. Thank you Vannissa for all you do and for being you!