Visit to Peru Will Highlight the Honor
“I’m excited to learn about education through the eyes of someone in a completely different part of the world”. This statement sums up the anticipation Lisa Sterling is feeling as she gets ready to participate in the NEA Foundation’s Global Learning Fellow program over the next year and a half. Now teaching at Hillside Junior High School in Boise after 14 years as a school psychologist, Sterling received word recently that she is the latest IEA member to take part in this wonderful multi-cultural opportunity.
Sterling is one of 44 educators from 43 states named to the 2020 cohort by the NEA Foundation. The group will gather in Washington, D.C. in October for a two-day workshop, then follow up with a series of webinars. The buildup culminates with a 10 day trip to Peru next July, where the Fellows will interact with educators and students. (IEA retired member Mary Lee Ruch made the enlightening sojourn to Peru when she was named a Global Learning Fellow in 2016.)
“It’s a very unique opportunity to get at the heart of a totally different culture,” says Sterling. “I’m excited to see what I can take about what’s working in other places and how I can be inspired to bring back ideas and insights for my teaching.”
It was inspiration that motivated Sterling to apply for the Global Learning Fellowship in the first place. She heard fellow Boise Education Association member Sonia Galaviz speak during a back to school event in the fall of 2018 and was transfixed by Galaviz’ accounting of her own experiences visiting South Africa as a part of the program. “I loved her message that students are one positive relationship away from positive outcomes in their lives,” Sterling says.
Sterling herself has been providing inspiration for students at Hillside Junior High School. She teaches English Language Development and is part of the school’s Bridge program, which helps students who have been in the country acclimate to their new academic and social surroundings. “As a psychologist I was always most fulfilled professionally when I could work with the refugee population.”
After several conversations with Hillside Principal Nate Dennis, Sterling decided to make the transition from school counselor to her current position. It took quite a bit of additional study, along with new certifications, but she couldn’t be more pleased with the result. “It’s my dream job. I love it,” she says.
Coincidentally, Sterling has two students in her class who are from Peru and has also befriended a school custodian with roots there. She has been gathering information from these first-person sources to help prepare her for her fellowship experience. Her current students are also thrilled their teacher has been recognized and will have such an amazing opportunity. “I got the email on May 17 and I told my students the next day,” Sterling says. “I was just so thrilled.”
Sterling grew up in Meridian and did her undergraduate work at Boise State University. She has a Master’s in Special Education and a PhD, both from the University of Oregon.