New Orleans, LA - In a heartwarming tribute to commitment, Warnae Adams, a devoted first-year teacher at KIPP Central City Academy, has been honored with a prestigious $1,000 award from Sun Belt. This exceptional recognition not only commends her contributions to the community but also highlights the profound impact of a KIPP New Orleans Schools' education.
Warnae, a seventh-grade science teacher, distinguishes herself through her journey and her exceptional teaching style. She adeptly combines a no-nonsense approach with nurturing care, earning admiration from both students and colleagues. Warnae's dedication to her students and her pursuit of excellence make her a standout educator.
Warnae's personal narrative is intricately woven with KIPP New Orleans Schools. She attended KIPP Central City Academy, where she excelled from 5th to 8th grade. In 2017, she proudly graduated from KIPP Renaissance High School, now Frederick A. Douglass High School. However, her journey was marred by a tragic incident when her brother, Brandon, was shot at age 15. He was also a student at KCCA. Throughout these adversities, Warnae's family, led by her mother, Shawan, remained steadfast advocates for KIPP New Orleans Schools, firmly believing in the power of education.
After completing her studies at Tougaloo College and serving in the military, Warnae felt a profound calling to give back to the community that had nurtured her. She reached out to Quiana Jones, the principal of KCCA, expressing her desire to return as a teacher to her alma mater.
"I wanted to teach, I reached out to Ms. Q, and I said I think this is the place for me; this is where most of my life changed, so I want to be that change that other kids can see," shared Warnae. "I'm that teacher who strives for perfection, ensuring my students receive everything I once had."
Reflecting on her decision, Warnae added, "I could have taught at any other school here in New Orleans, but KCCA is home for me," Warnae continued and reflecting on her brother. "Keeping our memories alive, being able to still have some type of connection to him - while also being the teacher that every student turns to when they need advice, when they are in trouble outside of school, or whatever the case may be. I want to be that person in their community that they can rely on."
Warnae expressed her appreciation for the award, recognizing its significance for her students. "This gift card will give the students something to look forward to," she remarked. "It will enable them to have more experiences, and it will help fill the gap. I am thankful.”
Tiana Thompson, a seventh-grader, shared her admiration for Ms. Adams. "Science is my favorite subject. Ms. Adams is a great teacher because she helps us, she is supportive, and she guides us until we find a solution,” Tiana said. “It's cool to know that she sat in the same seats where we sit, so she understands what it means to be a Tiger."
Quiana Jones, deeply impressed by Warnae's impact, shared her sentiments, saying, "I was humbled, honored, and excited. It's always special (and personal) when you work in the same place you grew up in. She and I have that in common. What do the kids say? 'It hits differently.' Warnae stands out because she was once a growing Tiger. Seeing her pour into her students and uphold the bar of excellence daily is a treat. The no-nonsense nurturer is back home. We love you so much, Warnae!"
During a surprise presentation, Warnae was presented the $1,000 gift card from Sun Belt, granted as part of the Extra Yard Week and Big Day for Teachers initiative, as her students, family members and colleagues looked on. Shawan expressed her delight at being part of the KIPP New Orleans Schools family and witnessing her daughter become an educator in the same community. "I love that she is able to give back what they gave to her," Shawan remarked. "The road has been long and challenging, and I love it. I am incredibly proud of Warnae. I am proud of my child."
Warnae's compelling story resonated deeply with her former teachers, now colleagues, including her former teacher and current Principal at John F. Kennedy High School, Dr. Joseph Jones, and former middle and high school principals, Alex Jarrell and Towana Pierre-Floyd. Quiana Jones remarked, "They are all equally proud of her. This is further proof of the promise of KIPP New Orleans Schools - to guide our students to, through, and beyond college. What a full-circle moment!"