AUGUSTA, GA. – Tevin Middleton, a student in the Masters of Education in school counseling program in the College of Education, has been named a member of the National Education Association (NEA) Aspiring Educator’s National Advisory Committee.
“I was very excited to learn that I had been chosen,” Middleton said. “We’ll be working to identify and recommend strategies to increase access or participation for aspiring educators across the nation, looking to identify barriers that they face and overcome them. I hope we can increase equity in education.”
But after a grueling application and interview process, according to Dr. Paulette Harris, Cree-Walker Chair in Education, Middleton wasn’t just chosen. He stood out.
“He just has that, ‘I can do it, I can make things work, I can make things better,’ attitude,” she said.
Talking to Middleton is all it takes to understand Harris’ perspective. His passion for education, and the role of counselors in education elevates a conversation.
“We have a chance, as educators, to become what students need. And counselors can be a partner in meeting the needs of students,” Middleton said. “Ultimately, there’s a lot of alignment.”
Middleton’s undergraduate degree in social work (B.A., 2015), and his work experience in patient advocacy at AU Health lead him into counseling in search of a more individual connection with youth. But his personal experiences with role models he had in school helped lead him to a career in education.
“I realized what that did for me – the role model that was provided me in high school – and it led me to slowly increase my involvement in education,” Middleton said.
Harris thinks the explanation might be a bit different: “He comes from a family that wants education to be the best it can be. Sometimes it’s just in your blood.”
The NEA is the largest education organization in the United States, with 2.9 million members, representing public school employees, faculty and staff in higher education, retired educators and college students. The committee on which Middleton will serve is charged with recruitment, engagement strategies, community service projects and assisting in planning and staging the Student Leadership and Professional Development Conference.