Who is Maia Chaka? Maia Chaka is the first Black female official in NFL history.
Maia Chaka is a professor of health and physical education and has worked with students with unique needs at Renaissance Academy in Virginia Beach, Va., Since 2006.
But this year, the Renaissance Academy, which is part of the public school system, was reminiscent of the thousands of schools across the country that have had to transform curricula and teaching methods during the pandemic. covid-19.
Like all of his fellow teachers, Chaka had to adapt. But throughout it all, she held one concern – that with transformed classrooms, students might struggle.
That’s why she co-facilitated professional development for the school’s faculty to help capture students when they are online, to help them want to come to the virtual classroom and, once that their faces appear on Zoom calls, to help make the lessons more engaging.
Then, when an extended family member was relocated a few months ago due to a weather emergency, Chaka came out of state to help, yet again.
She did so while becoming the first black woman to be appointed to the NFL umpiring staff, an announcement the league made on Friday morning.
“She takes care of her immediate family and her extended family,” Kay Thomas, director of alternative education at the Renaissance Academy, told USA TODAY Sports. “She takes care of her children here. She takes care of her profession. She takes care of her arbitration. It’s a lot to organize and carry, but she pulls it all off with a tremendous amount of grace.
Chaka’s colleagues at the Renaissance Academy use adjectives as consistent and reliable, but also silent, “a leader by example who inspires confidence.”
Chaka volunteered for basketball games between students and staff and participated in intramural programs. She sponsored a mentoring club for girls, which was recognized at the district level. She spoke to other high schools.
His talks with students at the Renaissance Academy and other local high schools have similar themes: overcoming adversity, that hard work and dedication pays off. She is a member of the school’s Positive Intervention Program and is developing a challenge for students to demonstrate how nice they are, to show respect and to act responsibly.
So it’s no surprise to her colleagues that she won the Renaissance Teacher of the Year award several years ago. This is also why, when dolores Phipps, Deputy Director, was looking to add someone to a committee she was on, she thought of Chaka.
“She did it so willingly and hit the ground running,” Phipps told USA TODAY Sports. “She made suggestions. She is proactive. But more than anything, she is committed to our children.
“To be honest with you, we wouldn’t have known all of this about him,” Dr. Aaron Spence, the superintendent of Virginia Beach City Public Schools, told USA TODAY of his work in arbitration. “She doesn’t walk around and talk about it. She’s more about doing it. It’s just who she is. “
The announcement of Chaka’s appointment comes as the Virginia School Boards Association has designated March as Education Equity Month.
March is also celebrated as National Women’s History Month.
This only makes the moment of Chaka’s groundbreaking achievement all the more important to his students.
“We have a saying here, that ‘Big dreams need big teachers,’ Spence said. She exemplifies that and is, quite frankly, a role model for so many people. To our young women who we hope can see what she has been able to accomplish through her commitment to her teaching and athletic career, to our African American students – she is an inspiration. We are so proud of her.
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