Education & Service 

Lifting up her students

Education Special education Teachers Academy

Hannah Gish has invested her time at Northern Arizona University to ultimately fulfill her dream of teaching in schools with limited resources for success.

The junior Honors College Ambassador from Phoenix is majoring in Elementary Education and is also pursuing a minor in Spanish and an endorsement in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL). Hannah has presented at the annual Undergraduate Symposium, spent a semester in Spain focused on Spanish literature and cinema, and has been at two culturally diverse educational environments for her practicum: Leupp Public School near the southwestern corner of the Navajo Nation and bilingual Puente de Hozho School in Flagstaff.

Hannah’s choices give her hands-on and research experiences that will help her excel in her career as a teacher.

NAU secondary education students such as Hannah have long been affiliated with Leupp. The Lumberjack teaching candidates’ reputations precede them when they meet the youth and faculty there.

“They love to see NAU students,” Hannah said. “They’re anxious to show you around the school and give you things to do. The feeling is that NAU teachers are there to work and do an awesome job, to do personal learning and also to help them. NAU students have a high expectation to live up to.”

She says the NAU College of Education’s exceptional requirements for time spent in the field, plus supportive faculty mentors such as Shawn Thomas and Cecilia Chaffin, mean she’ll be prepared when she gets her first job.

“NAU students are more experienced because they have so many hours in the classroom,” Hannah said. “In your first year of teaching, it helps you get excited and hit the ground running and be part of the community.”

“The fact that I can go to school for zero dollars, that gets every cent covered, that’s an awesome feeling,” Hannah said. “NAU was the perfect decision in all ways. The College of Education is established and I couldn’t have picked a better teachers college. Now that I have this good basis of opportunities in Flagstaff, this has rooted me in Arizona and has built me up as a person.”

Hannah Gish helps a young student with an assignment.

The Arizona Teachers Academy—a program that provides scholarships to encourage students to gain their education degree, leading to certification to practice their profession in the state—makes it more possible for her to reach her aspiration.