Speaking of Excellence

eddy mwambaDeKalb County School District (DCSD) and the English Learners Department are celebrating the district’s 2022 Georgia Department of Education “Exemplary English Learner” Stone Mountain High School Senior Eddy Mwamba, and “Exemplary English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Teacher” Megan Negrete of Hightower Elementary School.

Eddy is the spokesman for the International Club and was elected Mr. International for homecoming. According to his teachers, Eddy is an absolute pleasure to teach because he constantly strives for excellence. As a gifted language learner and honor roll student, he is actively learning to speak Portuguese and German and is preparing for his studies at Bard College as a Posse Scholarship recipient.

Always prompt and polite, Eddy encourages his peers to do their best and is willing to assist them with class assignments. He also has strong character. When a student was unwilling to demonstrate tact and kindness to improve a conflict with a classmate, Eddy stepped in and modeled the appropriate behavior which immediately remedied the problem. Another way Eddy demonstrates his core values is through his perpetual positive outlook on life. It is rare to see him without a smile, and his laugh is contagious. He truly is the heart and soul of his class and is beloved by the student body, faculty, and staff.

negreteMs. Negrete is a fixture in the Hightower Elementary School community. She is one of those teachers who seemingly knows all the students and parents in the school. It is common to see her out at carpool or dismissal chatting with students and families. She has an innate ability to connect with her students and immediately understand their needs as English learners. She is a leader and advocates for English learners. She constantly strives to push her students while making sure they are properly accommodated.

During COVID, she has been a shining light. Ms. Negrete met students at their homes during virtual learning to make sure they had what they needed, scheduled private tutoring sessions and managed to create engaging and culturally responsive lessons for her students weekly. She worked with a parent volunteer to release bilingual video updates so that parents could stay informed as changes were happening and to let them know what was taking place in Parent Advisory Committee meetings.

She created an engaging series of social media challenges that helped keep families and students engaged. Also, she has delivered useful professional learning sessions that have helped teachers become better prepared to teach and serve English learners. The professional learning sessions focused on helping her colleagues build strong relationships with their students.

Eddy and Ms. Negrete will be formally recognized by the Georgia Department of Education’s ESOL Language Program and the State Superintendent of Schools.