This is one of many spotlights about Badin graduates and their successes in life.
If it was happening at Badin High School, Katy Janik '05 was probably in the middle of it. A Top Ten student, Katy was a strong leader as vice president of the National Honor Society and an officer in the Ambassador organization. She ran cross country, was on the JETS team, and was the first recipient of the Brown University book award for skill in English and communication. Katy took those skills to the University of Notre Dame, and continued on to the Teach for America program in New Orleans. She made a difference at Badin, and continues to make a difference in the world around her.
Katy has a BA in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame and is certified through the New Teacher Project in Louisiana. She has worked as a middle and high school math teacher for seven years before transitioning to her current role as a Secondary Math Manager for KIPP New Orleans Schools. Her job is a combination of writing and managing math curriculum and assessments for a network of 6 middle and high schools, leading professional development for math teachers, and supporting implementation and execution of math curriculum through direct support of instructional leaders at all of our schools. She is married and living in New Orleans, LA. Learn more: https://www.kippneworleans.org/
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Alumni Spotlight on: KATY JANIK '05
What are you passionate about? Math education. Robert Moses, a civil rights activist and educator, wrote a book called Radical Equations, in which he explains that as a society we have deemed illiteracy to be generally unacceptable, but the same isn’t true for math. Acceptance or even an expectation of this “math illiteracy” disproportionately impacts children of color. Fighting this acceptance drives nearly everything I do in my work. For most people, the way they feel about math is rooted in their earliest experiences with math education. Lucky for me, I get to spend most of my time supporting teachers and leaders to create classrooms where students joyfully learn that math is for them!
What led you to your career/business or mission? During college, I worked for an educational summer camp, Breakthrough Cincinnati. That was my first taste of how much I loved being in a room of students. I hadn’t considered teaching until my senior year of college and decided to do an alternative certification program. I started teaching through Teach For America, which is a two-year commitment, and was placed in New Orleans. I assumed I would spend two years there and then move on, but I fell in love with the city, found an amazing school with staff who became some of my closest friends, and met my husband who is also an educator. Each year turned into one more year and I am wrapping up my 10th year of “one more year” in New Orleans public schools.
What is your favorite quote? "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou
Where have you traveled in the world? My husband and I both adore Harry Potter and have read the series many, many times. A few years ago we trekked to London with two of our best friends to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. It was a fantastic trip and we saw a ton of sites, but it was so funny to see people’s reaction when we told them why we were going in the first place – ranging from joy to jealousy to confusion.
What is your best advice for current Badin students? It is a big world with a lot of people who have stories that will be very different from yours. Seek opportunities to engage with others outside your community, city, state, country, anywhere, everywhere, and as often as you can.
What is your best memory as a Badin student or your favorite story about Badin? Winning Spirit Week our junior year. In my memory the gym was just a wall of sound.
Who was your favorite faculty/staff member at Badin? Why? I had so many teachers at Badin that I loved so it is hard to pick a favorite, but reflecting on who most influenced the person I am as an educator I always think of Mrs. Wimmers. Not just because she was a math teacher, but because of the ways she showed joy in being part of the school community. I can still picture her adorable cowgirl outfit that she would wear during spirit week. I think of it every time I suit up in my penguin costume to introduce our math mascot or put on my pumpkin Pi shirt for Pi Day.
What is one thing that you learned while at Badin that you still use and value today? Mr. P's simple, frequent advice - "Be safe and make good decisions." I use this all the time!