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“My heart tells me that's where I need to be."

Yearbook photo of Tira beside textWednesday, April 6, is National Paraprofessional Appreciation Day. The paras, instructional assistants and teacher's aides at North East ISD play a crucial role in supporting our students, teachers, staff and community.

Tira Julienne is part of the glue that holds Cibolo Green Elementary School together. As a Special Education Assistant, she assists students in classrooms across campus. She also works with students to build their social and cooperative learning skills one-on-one in the Redirection Room.

But Tira, in particular, is much more than your average paraprofessional. She recently passed her Teacher Certification test and is well on her way to achieving a dream she had as a fourth grader at El Dorado Elementary School.

"I think I realized I had a heart for teaching in fourth grade when I had a very nice teacher named Linda Jones. That was also one of the first times I had seen a female African American teacher, so I could really see myself in her. She pretty much gave me the motivation that I can be anything I want to be in life."

Tira grew up in a military family and was born on a beautiful island off the coast of Madagascar. When her family moved to San Antonio, Tira and her siblings did not speak English. When she started at El Dorado, she was bussed to Serna Elementary School, where she took classes that helped her become fluent.

"I remember that was the first time I'd ever been on a bus," said Tira. "It was overwhelming at first because all of these people were talking to me and I didn't know what was going on. To this day, I met some of my best friends in that class."

After becoming fluent, she returned to El Dorado and later attended Wood Middle School and Madison High School. After graduation, she juggled school and motherhood while working for NEISD's after-school Kids' Involvement Network (KIN). Her goal of becoming a teacher and being a positive influence for kids never wavered.

"I feel like I can teach them by showing them who I am. I can't change anything about me, but I can motivate you to do something. My heart tells me that's where I need to be."

Now, she's getting ready for a classroom of her own - and her very own dream come true years in the making.

Thank you, Tira, and all of the paraprofessionals who work so hard and care for our students and staff #theNEISDway

Lila Stanley
Posted on 4-6-22