Much of Peace Education’s programming takes place in schools, teaching kids from elementary through high school how to understand and control their feelings and manage conflict when it arises. Because the nonprofit has such close partnerships with schools, it makes sense that they would have individuals on staff who have spent years educating children in the school system. Who better to understand the needs of students and the challenges that can come from the school setting?
Kristina Greer, who recently joined Peace Education, spent over 10 years in the public school system as a high school special education teacher and saw how important social and emotional learning was, not only to her students but to the peer tutors who worked closely with her students.
Since coming on board, Kristina has found the meet and greets between Peace Education staff and local teachers to be so helpful, allowing her to introduce herself to teachers, get a sense of who they are and how their classrooms operate, while also explaining to them what Peace Education is all about. “These meetings are important. I want to get to know them, have them get to know me, and [learn] what challenges their students are having so that we can maybe tailor our curriculum around it. Schools have similar issues, but each school and each classroom has specific issues,” she says.
“Reflecting on my last few years as a teacher and hearing what Peace Ed focuses on is what drew me in–the self-growth, problem-solving skills.”
As she begins bringing programming to schools, Kristina is using Peace Education’s outstanding curriculum while also tailoring it a bit to her style and personality, as well as considering the specific behaviors teachers say their students are struggling with. She has been working with kindergarten and third grade students and went through the same excited and nervous feelings that she always experienced before the first day of school when she had her own classroom.
Kristina is excited at the prospect of bringing programming to community sites around the city and pursuing new partnerships with Louisville nonprofit organizations. “Expanding our reach is one of our goals,” she says, which may include learning centers, daycares, or other after-school program options. She knows that kids need to build their empathy skills and work to manage conflict in appropriate and fruitful ways and is excited to have the opportunity to help in this endeavor.
By Carrie Vittitoe | Photo by Melissa Donald