Enhancing Teacher Wellbeing - KIPP Chicago Public Schools

The Whole Child Review Issue No. 8, January 2022

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Enhancing Teacher Wellbeing

Wellness Champions

Each school’s wellness champion is a teacher, paraprofessional, operations leader, or assistant principal who is committed to staff wellbeing. Their goal is to promote and help to communicate the calendar of wellness events for our KIPP Chicago community. The wellness champions’ inaugural event was the food distribution at each campus on December 17th with Chi Fresh. This year’s wonderful group of wellness champs includes: Janise Wright, Sameka Gates, Jillian Lindenberg, Julie Theibert, Alanna Bonfiglio, Andrew Albert, Bryan Warner, and Chantell Denney.

Wellness Champion Feature: Bryan Warner

We are so grateful for our wellness champs and their commitment to staff wellbeing. Mr. Warner is a dedicated, multi-faceted educator and mentor to both students and teachers at KIPP Bloom College Prep. His peaceful temperament, wisdom, and unwavering support make him an indispensable teammate.

Tell us a little about yourself, and what is one of your most proud accomplishments?

I am one of the principal owners of A WARNER IDEA LLC specializing in the baby product industry. We have been in business for over 6 years. Starting a company is one the hardest things one can do but I am working to leave a legacy for the next generations. I am a father of four children, 3 are attending HBCUs on the east coast and one is a junior in high school.

My passion is to bring staff and students to their fullest potential by affecting positive change through connectivity, support, and my expertise in the academic and social spaces. I am humbled to be a part of KIPP, who is striving to achieve the goal of providing well-rounded educational, social, emotional and wellness programming to achieve the best outcomes for students and staff. My background is working with at-risk youth, both in an academic and residential setting at all levels. Partnering with the Equity Committee, I seek to find better ways to address students’ holistic needs by affecting change that addresses the uniqueness of the population served to enhance KIPP’s presence in the community.

I enjoy spending time with family, writing poetry, serving the community and learning everything I can to better myself and those around me. One of my most proud accomplishments is raising intelligent hard-working children who are all honor roll students, entrepreneurs, critical thinkers, risk-takers, and self-reliant individuals who are supported.

What brought you to KBCP?

What brought me to KIPP was the opportunity to work in a school again. I missed working with children and believed that I could affect change in the public school system. Fun fact, I was passed over when I first interviewed with a KIPP school. I received a call a few weeks later offering me the position and I almost said no. A person I respected said, “You should give them a try because they did not know what they missed out on. Give them another chance.”

What are some of your hopes for students as they enter the next phases of their lives, after Bloom?

Some of my hopes for students is to achieve the high standards and graduate with the skills necessary to succeed in a 21st century world. Students have the opportunity to be educated by diverse, culturally relevant experts in whatever roles the adults have in their lives. Students taught in environments that are conducive to academic, social/emotional and life skill learning. Encounter people that will protect them, nurture them, challenge them, and teach them the truth about themselves. Most of all, be healthy and strong in the ways that matter.

If you could impart one piece of wisdom on all students, what would it be?

Don’t let the problems of today be the problems of tomorrow. Plan the day, don’t let the day plan for you. Take action with purpose.

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