Local Leader Spotlight: Kizzy Perkins
Learn more about Kizzy Perkins, who is a building reprsentative for the Red Clay Paraprofessionals Association (RCPA) and a paraprofessional at the Red Clay Early Years Program. Perkins' work for RCPA continues to energize members. RCPA represents over 325 education support professionals across the District's 30 schools.
... on why she chose a career in public education
"I interned at the with the Philadelphia School District and I found that I had this passion and this love to help students. So being an intern, going into different classrooms, and working with different teachers really just created that love and that passion for education."
... on how she first got involved with her union
"It was the influence of a wonderful teacher, who also happened to be my son’s preschool teacher, Trisha Dallas. She was such a wonderful person, who pushed me in that direction towards the union and, for that, I am thankful."
... on why she became a local leader for her union
"I think what has kept me going, becoming more involved, is my love of helping people. Since I began, our local has started some wonderful programs to help its members. Our mentor program began after I joined several other local leaders on a trip to Seattle to look at how their unions supported members. We studied what they were doing and used that to help us start a mentor program for paras joining our District."
... on how public education has changed for the better
"The number of inclusion opportunities for our students. In recent years, with more and better testing, we’ve discovered more students have learning disabilities. And the fact that we’re including these students in our regular education classrooms, in our preschool programs... That level of support for these students has been such a game-changer."
... on what public education needs to fix going forward
"I believe our educators need more support... More support for new teachers, more support for our new parents coming in... When you start as an educator, you’re just put right into a classroom and don’t really have a lot of guidance. So, I think we need our administrators and district leaders to provide more help to the novice teachers, making sure they have what they need to help students."
... on what is most rewarding to her as a leader
"Building community involvement and support... Every year, we stuff book bags for a local shelter, which we know also supports our students and their families... Just having people reach out and say ‘This is what we need’, or a member saying ‘I need help with this’ and being able to provide that is the most important part of this work that we are doing."
... on the local association win she is most proud of
"It’s definitely the success of our mentor program. We continue to train mentors so that, as new paras join the district, they can step in to their role knowing there’s support ready to help them whenever they need it."
... on what she wants potential members to know
"The Union is a great support system. We’re always here when you have questions. If you have a need, any issues or concerns, we are here to talk with you and find a solution. Your local leaders are here to support you, help you navigate difficult situations, and help you succeed in your role."
... on what she wants current members to know
"Always keep an open dialogue with your building representatives and local leaders. Tell them how things are going for you in the classroom. Let them know what’s going well or what might need to change."