Five years ago: Light bulb moment. College-senior-me realized that what I really wanted was to teach elementary school, specifically English language learners.
Four years ago: I began a one-year Masters of Teaching program in K12 Literacy and ESL. Those 12 months felt like three, but it was just long enough for me to start looking around for an alternative to the traditional district school.
My checklist went something like:
elementary (Early readers have my heart.)
multi-lingual and multi-cultural student body (Experience growing up in this community is what compelled me to teach in the first place.)
Metro Atlanta (see point above)
track record of high academic achievement for English language learners and students in the margins
supportive administrators who are first and foremost instructional leaders
teaching faculty who are committed to excellence and the advancement of the profession
strong behavioral systems and explicit character development