Alzubi Named First Public School Hero
On the morning of Advanced Placement exams at Amon-Carter Riverside High School in Fort Worth, teacher Shayma Alzubi makes warm cinnamon rolls, freshly brewed coffee and distributes brown bags filled with snacks and sandwiches for her students taking AP exams. It’s a tradition she’s continued since she convinced her principal to re-start the AP Chemistry program at the school four years ago.
Alzubi is a science teacher for the Fort Worth ISD school and will graduate from TCU’s Principal Fellows program in May 2021. Program cohorts earn their master’s degrees in educational leadership and spend their second year serving in an administrative internship. Alzubi was nominated as TCU’s first Public Education Hero by Marla McGhee, Director of the Center for Public Education. The center recognized Alzubi during Public Schools Week on Feb. 27 at Carter Riverside and purchase $250 worth of supplies for her classroom.
“Thanks to her dedication and hard work, Carter Riverside students are earning college credit, making the pathway to higher education easier and more affordable,” said McGhee. “Shayma exemplifies the best of public education—teachers who go above and beyond for their students every single day.”
When Alzubi first expressed to her principal her desire to start an AP Chemistry program at Carter Riverside, she needed to identify at least 20 students to enroll in order to launch the program. During the school’s course selection period, Alzubi attracted 23 students to the course.
Video recorded before social distancing measures implemented in the U.S.
When the first AP scores were released in 2016, her students broke a record and placed third in the district, a first for the school. Since its establishment, Carter Riverside’s AP Chemistry program has doubled in size.
“I am a relationship builder, which translates into my greatest strength: includer,” Alzubi wrote in a leadership essay she wrote for a course last fall. “I believe that when a leader has strong relationships with their followers, the followers are encouraged to achieve the mission of the organization. I believe in building a following of people who willingly work by my side because of the relationships that we have.”
Alzubi said the first year of teaching AP Chemistry was a challenge, and she felt the pressure of students relying on her to earn college credit. But her students were dedicated, too, meeting for Saturday study sessions and providing input on how they could best master the content and AP testing strategies.
“Appreciated teachers are more motivated to put the students’ needs first and push themselves when challenges arise,” Alzubi wrote. “I put the students first because I love what I do. I love teaching. I love working with students and empowering them.”