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  • Writer's pictureReach University

From Dreaming to Teaching: A Story of Resilience and Achievement this Teacher Appreciation Week

In the northeastern heart of Arkansas lies the rural city of Maynard, a special community where Carla Haney, a social studies teacher at Maynard High School, serves as a leader and inspiration for her students and greater community. Carla's journey from aspiring educator to accomplished teacher is not only a testament to her resilience, but also a reflection of the transformative power of education and fully job-embedded teacher apprenticeships.


Carla's story begins with a childhood dream of becoming a teacher. However, life took a different turn when she became a mother. Like many young parents, Carla prioritized her family, placing her dream of teaching on hold. Yet, as her children grew older and entered school, Carla faced a choice: to continue staying at home or to explore opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Driven by her desire to provide a better life for her family, Carla seized an opportunity presented by her K-12 employer. Introduced to Reach University, a nonprofit university fully dedicated to advancing job-embedded degrees and credentials, Carla found a pathway to pursue her long-held dream of teaching while balancing her responsibilities as a mother and a working professional.

What set Carla's Reach experience apart was the flexibility, accessibility, and a growing community of peer educators. With on-the-job learning supported by interactive Zoom seminars led by distinguished professors of practice, Carla was able to engage in her studies while juggling her job and family commitments. Through Reach, she not only obtained a debt-free bachelor's degree, but also worked towards becoming a licensed teacher, reigniting her passion for education.

Transitioning from a paraprofessional to teacher, Carla found fulfillment and purpose in her career progression. She discovered that teaching not only brought her greater professional satisfaction, but also provided a stable income for her family, surpassing what she earned in her previous role.

More than just a career, teaching became Carla's vocation, shaping her identity and instilling a sense of pride in herself and her children. Through her journey, Carla realized the power of perseverance and determination. Her story serves as a reminder that with dedication and support, anyone can achieve their dreams, regardless of the obstacles they may face at different stages of life.

Carla's experience underscores the importance of affordable job-embedded degree programs that remove the forced choice between a job and a degree. Reach University is uniquely supporting working adults in pursuing their educational aspirations by removing the financial and time barriers to degree attainment and career progression.


As we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, Carla Haney stands as one of the numerous examples of the dedication, passion, and tireless commitment embodied by educators everywhere. Her journey from dreaming to teaching is not just a personal triumph but also a testament to the profound impact of education in shaping lives and building brighter futures for generations to come.


After completing Reach University, Carla is now working towards her master's degree in education.



Teachers leave a lasting impact on every student who enters their classroom, and each teacher deserves a lifetime of celebration - not just a day or week. This Teacher Appreciation Week, please join us in honoring and celebrating every educator in our Reach community and across the country.




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