Joeanna McPherson is a METCO (Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity) adjustment counselor. Having grown up in Boston, she found a love for the Boston school environment and has worked in the area ever since. In her free time, McPherson likes to talk about sports, play basketball and color.
How did you spend the summer?
During the month of July, I worked at the Old Lincoln School teaching Math for the Calculus Project for rising eighth grade students. The purpose of the Calculus Project is to increase the amount of African-American and Latino students in AP courses. The eighth graders saw the eighth grade content that they were going to see during the school year in hopes that they’d feel more confident in math, and once they ultimately get to the high school they’ll be in a better position or be more confident to take more AP classes.
What was it like working there?
It’s a really cool environment. It’s great to meet students from the other schools across the district. They first meet during the Calculus Project in eighth grade, and once they get to the high school they’re like, “oh, I remember you from the Calculus Project” and that continues that bond. It’s been really neat to see that.
Have you always wanted to make this sort of impact on your community?
It’s always been something that’s important to me. I’m working for METCO now, and I’m also a METCO parent. I have two daughters that are at the Driscoll school as a part of the METCO program, so it’s something that is near and dear to my heart.
How do you like to relax during the school year?
When I’m most relaxed, I’m actually coloring. When I’m able to free my mind and just color, it’s so relaxing. Back to center, back at peace. It helps me just focus on the present. Just be in the moment to clear my mind. I think in this role in particular, I’m bouncing around from school to school. I’m always thinking about my to-do list. Taking the time to step away from that feels necessary for my own mental health, because the to-do list is always going to be there.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I love the school setting. I love being in schools, counseling and offering student support. And I can’t imagine ever not being in school because this is where I’ve been for the entirety of my career.
If your younger self could see you now, would they be happy with where you are?
When I was younger, I didn’t want to go into education because I didn’t think I’d make enough money. I thought I would be poor and struggling for the rest of my life. I think my younger self would be shocked, but also incredibly proud that I chose to go with my heart and not necessarily worry about financial success.
Is there anything you want the student body to know about you as a person?
I often describe myself as someone who doesn’t take herself very seriously. I can keep things light, and I think I have a good sense of humor. I feel like I’m personable and easy to get along with. But I’m also very passionate about seeing students thrive and being their best selves and feeling great about themselves. And although I work with METCO students specifically, I’m always excited to get to know students who are part of the larger student body as well.