Four years ago, the Arizona State University Alumni Association began offering alumni educators complimentary Sun Devil teacher packs filled with resources for teachers, students and their classrooms to support educators in their work and to inspire students to go to college. This year, more than 3,900 Sun Devil educators around the world kicked off a new school year with ASU swag from their alma mater.
The back-to-school packs were mailed to all 50 states — as well as eight countries — to alumni who teach pre-kindergarten through high school. During the process of requesting a Sun Devil teacher pack, educators were asked what it means to be a Sun Devil and how they demonstrate ASU spirit in the classroom. Many ASU educators post on social media with the hashtag #sundevilteacher, showing their classrooms adorned with ASU banners, jerseys, flags, teacher pack swag and other maroon and gold memorabilia.
Brandon Janes, an English teacher at Newbury Park High School in Thousand Oaks, California, said that he has a large ASU flag proudly displayed in his classroom.
“I tell my students about my experience at ASU and help them fill out their college applications,” he said.
Many Sun Devil educators, similar to Janes, are passionate about encouraging students to apply to ASU in the future, even if they are at a young age. Kimberly Martinez of the Academy of Math and Science in Phoenix realizes the impact that she can have on her first grade students in attending college one day.
“A lot of my students will be first-generation students, so it is important to me to tell them all about the amazing things that I learned and had the chance to experience at ASU,” she said.
During Deanna Forman’s time at ASU, one of the best things that happened was realizing her dream of becoming a teacher.
“Each day I am grateful for my ASU education,” said Forman, an elementary language arts specialist in Fairfield, Connecticut, who prioritizes empathy and love of reading in her classroom.
Educators are applying ASU’s charter to their own classrooms. Brian Adams, a high school teacher in Monroe, Iowa, shared, “As an educator, being a Sun Devil means taking inspiration from ASU’s charter by creating an inclusive and welcoming classroom.” Adams encourages students to solve the problems they face with an innovative approach.
More Sun Devil educators shared their classroom stories:
“Being innovative and trying to bring that into my classroom with STEM and PBL (project-based learning) projects.” — Katelyn Scott, Gilbert, Arizona
“It means we can always make a difference in our lives and the lives of others. Being a classroom teacher has been a wonderful way to support the future change-makers of our world.” — Jennifer Niklas, Washington, D.C.
“Being a Sun Devil means rising to the challenge and always looking for ways to improve our world for future generations!” — Rachelle Zimmerman, Portland, Oregon
“Sun Devils are lifelong learners. I pride myself on creating a classroom environment where students enjoy coming to school and learning.” — Joseph Sobieski, Raeford, North Carolina
“It means so much to me as a first-generation college graduate. I share my experiences with my students. It means always carrying the pride and the tradition of ASU and ensuring that I’m always leading with purpose.” — Albert Becerra, Arlington, Texas
“Being a Sun Devil means being a person who is measured by whom they include, not whom they exclude. I embody this in my classroom.” — David Howell, Mesa, Arizona
Learn more about the ASU Alumni Association’s Sun Devil teacher packs and commitment to supporting educators at alumni.asu.edu/sundevilteacherpack.