Grad uses master’s for career change

Kameka Hollins Banks teaches in the classroom

April 27, 2022 — DENTON — A mid-career shift can be a surprise for some, but thanks to a supportive school district and a master’s in teaching, Kameka Hollins-Banks is prepared for the step.

Apparently, midlife career changes run in the family. Hollins-Banks said her life has always seemed to mirror her mother’s, who made a similar shift in careers after graduating from TWU in 2005 with a master’s in occupational therapy.

Hollins-Banks eventually became a paraprofessional at Dodd Elementary in the Wylie Independent School District, a job a bit different than she imagined with her bachelor’s in design. But it was a perfect fit at the time for raising her two sons and led to a renewed love for being around children.

Kameka Hollins Banks with her two sons

"I enjoy their light bulb moments and their transparent demeanor," Hollins-Banks said. "My master’s in teaching will just enhance what I love to do.”

She was part of an initial cohort program partnership between TWU and Wylie ISD to prepare paraprofessionals with bachelor’s degrees to become certified teachers while earning a master’s.

“Getting certified to teach and a master’s was above and beyond my aspirations,” Hollins-Banks said. “I’m so grateful for the program.”

On a tight timeline for state-required certifications, Hollins-Banks says she had great professors to teach, encourage and mentor her. She specifically mentioned Laura Trujillo-Jenks, PhD, Rebecca Fredrickson, EdD, Sarah McMahan, PhD, and Karen Dunlap, EdD.

With their support and her hard work, Hollins-Banks passed all of her certification tests in one attempt. Now she has a three-year contract with Wylie ISD to start as a certified teacher in the upcoming 2022-23 school year.

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Page last updated 9:25 AM, April 28, 2022