I want to pursue teaching because I want to help guide students to reach their full potential, and prevent them from going towards a destructive path. I believe that every student is capable of contributing something positive and beneficial to this world, and I want to help them see their own potential.”

Jonathan’s Story

Jonathan’s life was beginning to go down the wrong path before two teachers intervened. When his father, passed away, Jonathan became very lax with his school attendance and the submission of assignments. His photography teacher offered a safe space in her classroom. His Spanish teacher was also supportive. After noticing a decline in his academic performance and his emotional well being, she involved the assistant principal and his counselor in an intervention. Fortunately, Jonathan was able to make the necessary improvements and still graduate on time.

Following graduation, he began working with his mother at a dry cleaners. Shortly thereafter, he realized that this was not the life he envisioned for himself. Fully aware of his potential, he enlisted in the United States Army to jumpstart his life. During basic training, he transformed his attitude and his outlook on life. For four years, Jonathan served his country as a team leader and an infantryman. As he neared the end of his military service, he reflected on how much he enjoyed being a team leader and being responsible for the training other soldiers. With a desire to have a positive impact on the lives of others, he decided to pursue a career in teaching.

Before being honorably discharged in 2009, Jonathan completed two year-long deployments in Iraq and earned several awards, including the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Expert Infantryman Badge and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

Jonathan holds a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics and a Master of Arts in educational studies from the University of Michigan. While working as a student teacher, he developed a differentiated lesson on quadratic equations using an adaptation of Dan Meyer’s three act math task. The amount of time it would take for a basketball thrown off a tall building to reach the hoop was the driving question of the lesson. His lesson successfully engaged all students, even those who previously expressed their dislike of the subject.

As a Knowles Teaching Fellow, Jonathan expects to “gain membership in a professional learning community that engages in professional discourse, supports one another, and inspires each other to reach our full potential.”

Jonathan regularly volunteers as a counselor at a youth retreat that is organized by the Michigan Council of Korean Churches. He is a huge sports fan who roots for all Detroit-based professional teams. Jonathan loves food and enjoys discovering new places to eat in his spare time.