Dr. Portia Ransom says goodbye to AT, but hello to Willowbrook

One of AT’s goodbyes this year is addressed to English teacher and CARE Team leader Dr. Portia Ransom, who is not retiring, but rather doing the complete opposite, as she is transferring to Willowbrook High School to become the English department head there. 

During her time at AT, Ransom was teaching English courses, focusing on ensuring that students can connect to the lessons and feel represented at the school. A part of that effort was also her involvement in the CARE Team, where she led a group of staff members in activities and discussions that allowed them to understand their students.

AT English department head Amy Ferraro highlighted Ransom’s efforts to make her classroom as welcoming and inclusive as possible. 

“Dr. Ransom’s presence in AT classrooms has been invaluable.  Representation matters for all of our students, and Dr. Ransom has worked to maximize her impact on our student body not only as a teacher but as a BSU club sponsor and CARE Team leader,” she said. 

Besides Ransom’s incredible impact on students, Ferraro also described her influence on the department. 

“Dr. Ransom formed excellent relationships with the members of the English Department.  Her voice has been an essential part of our department conversations over the past four years, so I’m confident her insights and perspective will live on in our work,” said Ferraro.

“I’m confident she will excel in her role as English Department Head at Willowbrook.  She will definitely be missed in our office!” she added.

In addition to being the department head, Ransom will also be teaching Hidden Voices, a new dual credit class that focuses on voices that are typically marginalized. 

Although Ransom will have such an important position at Willowbrook, her involvement in the CARE Team will not decrease as a result of that. 

“I’m very organized. I am one of those people who try to have a work life balance, but I spend time in the evenings and weekends preparing for the next day or the next week, and I prioritize self care,” commented Ransom.  

Ransom is still finishing her year here at AT, but is already involved in helping with some decision making at Willowbrook. 

“We align our values with those of the district, so we will always strive to have a curriculum in which students could see themselves. We will always strive to have a curriculum that is relevant and current, and that will encourage students to use their voices,” said Ransom about plans in regards to the English department at Willowbrook. 

With the preparations to transition to Willowbrook, Ransom reflected on her time at AT. 

“Addison Trail has helped me grow tremendously over the last few years. The support that I have received here is the same type of support that I want to offer to staff at Willowbrook. People have really emboldened and empowered me here to have a voice, to feel valued, to feel seen, to feel heard, and that has just helped me appreciate more of what I have to offer,” shared Ransom. 

Because of teachers like Ransom, students feel seen and can relate to the material being taught, sometimes even for the first time in their lives. That effort is truly priceless and does not go unnoticed.

Staff, students, as well as the whole community thanks Dr. Portia Ransom and wishes her the best on her new journey. 

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