To All Who Believe In A Dream… This Is My Journey…
I am the trustee of the Robert and Susan Kozlowski L.I.F.T. Foundation and I welcome your interest. As you learn more about the L.I.F.T. Foundation, I would like to take this opportunity to share my journey in education that led to the creation and implementation of this unique and deeply personal education foundation.
I knew I had a passion to teach and leave an imprint on education even as a child. My earliest memories are first playing “school” with my dolls, then gathering the neighborhood kids into the garage for “school”, and as a high school student tutoring elementary students who came to Granada Hills High School from an urban neighborhood setting for enrichment. Teaching has never been a job to me, it has been a calling… a mission … an inner drive to make a difference in the lives of young people.
I graduated from U.C.L.A. in 1978, one of a select group to complete my undergraduate work in three years, so I could earn my preliminary teaching credential simultaneously. My career started in elementary education, teaching primary grades at Seven Hills School in Walnut Creek, California. Shortly thereafter I pursued my M.S. in Education degree. Within a couple of years it became evident that I had a passion for curriculum development, with an emphasis on the importance of cross curriculum instruction and implementation of successful classroom management strategies. My unique, multi-faceted educational journey had begun.
The highlights from my journey as an educator and life-long learner…
- Teaching primary grades at Seven Hills School in Walnut Creek, California
- Facilitating instructional workshops with the California Independent Schools on “Using Art to Teach Elementary Science”
- Receiving my Masters of Science in Education, California State University Hayward, California
- Teaching reading, language arts, writing, and study skills for elementary through high school students in small group instruction at the Melmed Learning Clinics in Lafayette, Danville, and Concord, California; Additionally teaching literacy to adult non-readers
- Becoming Director of Melmed Learning Clinic, Concord, California
- Receiving Gifted certification, Tampa, Florida, teaching Gifted 3rd, 4th, 5th grade math and science
- Developing, with a small team of master teachers, Hillsborough County’s Primary Gifted Literature Based program, piloting successfully program with 2nd graders at Schwarzkopf Elementary School, outside Tampa, Florida
- Teaching language arts, geography, and a science elective at N.B. Young Middle Magnet School of Math, Science, and Technology, the first math science magnet school in Tampa, Florida
- Volunteering for roles as Advisor for first student written newspaper “The Buffalo Beat”, Student Council Advisor, Multi-Cultural Committee Chairperson, and 6th Grade Team Leader at N.B. Young Middle Magnet School
- Named Channel 10’s Teacher of the Month in Tampa, Florida
- Proposed and implemented an initiative to serve as a volunteer educator, tutoring young patients while they were in the hospital battling serious illnesses and missing class time, at Lutheran Hospital, Fort Wayne, Indiana
- Supervising student teachers at Indiana-Purdue University, Fort Wayne
- Implementing The Robert and Susan Kozlowski L.I.F.T. Foundation with Robert Kozlowski
- Supervising Teach for America teachers at Marian University, Indianapolis, Indiana
- Expanding The Robert and Susan Kozlowski L.I.F.T. Foundation to a national platform, moving the home base to Los Angeles, California, offering scholarships in California and teacher grants throughout the country.
- Networking with educators and professionals while mentoring the growing family of L.I.F.T. Scholars.
- Expanding college transition programs at high schools in underserved communities throughout California.
The lessons learned over the past thirty plus years are many.
I leave you with a few lessons learned along the way…
- Equitable education for all students must be a priority
- Every student wants to learn even if he/she does not know it
- The environment for positive learning is crucial
- Every parent wants better for their child
- Always challenge to be the best one can be and believe that best is possible
- Discipline in the classroom is an act in engaging not overpowering
- Goals need a “how to” plan for learning to be achieved
- Mentoring is leading students to discover for themselves
- Teachers must have a passion to learn, not only instruct
- Mentoring with financial assistance is the key formula to college attainment, creating workforce ready individuals determined and capable of leading our nation
- To truly understand the world, one must embrace experiences outside the classroom
- Learning Inspires Freedom Tomorrow
Susan Kozlowski, Co-Founder, Trustee
The Robert and Susan Kozlowski L.I.F.T. Foundation