Looking beyond her
skin color, Kelly Copeland 02 walked into the Los Angeles
Escuela Elementary Center and applied for an assistant teacher
position. The prestigious, predominantly African-American school
had no Caucasian teachers and the schools founder, Sandra
Roussell, had her doubts. Yet Copelands persistence won
out, and she got the job on a trial basis. After two weeks,
her eagerness to immerse herself in a new culture and learn
how to help others learn became an asset to the school.
This position was only a foot in the door for Copeland. She
wanted more. She wanted a class of her own where she could design
lessons and guide students. For that, she would need more education.
And she wanted the best. As she researched, she seriously considered
other Southern California universities, but held out for a better
fit. Then she found Azusa Pacifics Accelerated Degree
Program in Human Development. APU had the exact program
I was looking for, she said. I was attracted to
the small, personal classes, and the beautiful campus with its
That initial attraction translated into a solid relationship
as Copeland began her course work. Connecting with her teachers
and classmates over rich discussions of styles, techniques,
and methods, she began to formulate her own philosophy of teaching.
From each course and assignment, she gained more insight into
how to teach students of another culture and how to set the
tone in her classroom for maximum learning potential. I
was taught to analyze my own education experience and glean
from past teachers, both negative and positive, said Copeland.
It helped me understand the kind of teacher I want to
be and how to become that person.
Today, Kelly Copeland teaches her own second-grade class at
Escuela, where many students are already preparing for Ivy League
schools. She credits her time at APU with the boost she needed
to launch her dream. Azusas program allowed me to
get out and do what I wanted to do quickly, said