McKINNEY — “It takes more than cooking and sewing today to manage a home, and it's not just the women that are doing it,” says Tamara Taylor, Family and Consumer Sciences teacher and advisor for the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) student organization at McKinney Boyd High School.
Taylor, who this summer was named the 2014 Outstanding Teacher for Region III by the Family and Consumer Sciences Teachers Association of Texas (FCSTAT), is passionate about preparing students for life at home and in the workplace and is grateful for the opportunity to promote FCCLA.
“We are all part of a family in some way, and FCCLA is the only student-led organization in the nation with family as its focus,” says Taylor. “I am a firm believer that if we can strengthen families, our communities, states and nation will become stronger. When the family unit is strong, the individuals of those families will go out much happier, stronger and more confident to serve our community in positive ways.”
Boyd principal Dr. Jennifer Peirson praises Taylor’s passion for teaching and her commitment to students. “Tamara is an amazing teacher who has the biggest heart for our students. She not only teaches the content, but she absolutely loves and believes in what she is teaching, and that passion definitely shows through with her students,” says Peirson.
Under the guidance of Taylor and fellow teacher Rhonda Martin, the Boyd FCCLA chapter is thriving. Last year’s membership topped 120, and this year Taylor hopes to see even more students benefit from what the program has to offer.
“I have seen students grow in their confidence and and leadership abilities,” she says. “We have students of all ethnicities, economic statuses, academic levels and social levels. [The success of FCCLA] makes all the traveling, planning and long hours outside of school worth it when we see all these students breaking down barriers and working together.”
Three of Taylor’s FCCLA students are currently serving in high-ranking positions at the regional and state level. Boyd senior Elena Gonzalez is the state FCCLA Vice President of Peer Involvement and will represent the organization at a national conference in Washington, D.C. this fall; fellow senior Savannah Preator is the Region III Vice President of Public Relations; and Katherine Trout, also a senior, is currently serving as Region III Vice President of Records.
Taylor says that her student officers work hard, putting in many hours over the summer and throughout the school year, and their sphere of influence is growing. “FCCLA is truly student led. We will be hosting our Fall Leadership Meeting this year on Oct. 21 along with McKinney High School’s officer and Sherman High School’s officer. We are hoping to have over 150 students attend from different schools within a 60 mile radius of McKinney,” she says.
Once known as Future Homemakers of America (FHA), the organization transformed itself into FCCLA fifteen years ago to reflect changes in the home and community, according to Taylor. FCCLA’s mission statement reflects a focus on preparing for “the multiple roles of family member, wage earner and community leader” while developing students’ “skills for life through character development; creative and critical thinking; interpersonal communications; practical knowledge; and career preparation.”
Appropriately, Taylor fills multiple roles herself in pursuit of that mission. In addition to her Family and Consumer Sciences classes, she also teaches Interior Design and Education and Training, a program that develops future teachers.
“Our [Education and Training students] work with elementary teachers and help them not only with grading papers, activity preparations or copies,” says Taylor, “our interns actually plan [lessons] and teach the students.”
And, getting a taste of teaching while still in high school gives students valuable experience toward their professional goals with fewer surprises later on, explains Taylor.
“The program allows a student to find out if teaching is what they thought it would be. For some, they actually decide that it’s not what they want to do, and although it’s sad to hear that a student doesn’t want to be a teacher after committing their time to the class, I’m happy for them that they find out now and not after their senior year of college,” says Taylor.
But for Taylor, there is no question about the path she is traveling. “I love teaching. I love being around teenagers,” she says. “I never feel like I’m going to work. Mind you, I work hard and spend many hours at home on lessons and FCCLA planning, but I can’t think of anything I’d rather do. I enjoyed high school, and now I get to help others enjoy high school each and every day and inspire them to go out and do good in our world.”
For additional information on McKinney ISD, contact Shane Mauldin, MISD Communications Coordinator, at 469-302-4007 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About McKinney ISD
One of the fastest growing school districts in Texas, the McKinney Independent School District currently enrolls more than 24,750 students in 20 elementary schools, five middle schools, three high schools, four alternative schools and one early childhood education school. The mission of McKinney ISD, the champion for progressive learning throughout the diverse McKinney community, is to inspire and equip all students to explore, develop and express their unique potential as innovators, critical thinkers and collaborators through challenging, engaging and diverse learning experiences in vital partnership with the community. Visit the district's website at mckinneyisd.net.