Educator with Sioux City Community Schools (Unity Elementary)
Owner, Paris Gardner Trucking, LLC
Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant
What are you working on now?
Currently, I am a teacher in the Sioux City Community Schools and actively involved on my schools Building Leadership Team, Teacher Leadership and Compensation steering committee for Sioux City Schools, Intermediate Director for Sioux City Education Association, Siouxland Unit UniServe (SUU) President, and Iowa State Education Association (ISEA) multicultural committee representative for Siouxland. Also, I am currently a member of Sioux City’s Eastern Star chapter, Harmony Chapter #22, Order of the Eastern Stars, Jurisdiction of Iowa. These groups provide wonderful opportunities to give back and improve Siouxland in various ways. I have volunteered at many non-profit organizations, given school supplies, Siouxland Soldiers, “Holiday for Heroes,” working with youth at my church, and mentoring Siouxland young educators.
What is your vision for the future?
My vision is to reach out into our community to increase ethnic minority membership and leadership at all levels and to improve educational and cultural opportunities for ethnic and minorities.
What would you like to see happen in Siouxland?
I would like to see more organizations become more diversified. At the same time, have a retention program in place to improve Siouxland growth. Also, I would like to see this program culture and nurture the relationship of young professionals from their education journey to continue throughout their career journey.
What are you doing to make that happen?
I am continuing to build partnerships with our neighborhood businesses/organizations. Our school has partnered with our neighborhood fire department. SUU works and mentors with young educators in Siouxland. The ISEA Multicultural Committee has created a Facebook page. Harmony Chapter #22, Order of the Eastern Star gives out scholarships to college students. I am devoted to religious, charitable, and educational purposes. I strive for excellence through education, training, dedication, and commitment.
How can people help you make that happen?
People can help by providing a platform and/or an avenue for Siouxland business to come into schools to build a cultivating relationship/partnership. Siouxland organizations have a diversified program to bridge the gap between recruiting college students and young professionals in the workforce. Connections and relationships are very important to encourage and show others we care about them.
What is the most important key to success?
The key to success is to have a growth mindset and be a life-long learner. Learning involves having an open mind, listening, and exploring.
What is one challenging life experience that taught you something you’ve been able to use to your benefit or to the benefit of others?
Growing up, I never had to face any real challenges in life until I became an adult. After graduating from college and entering the workforce, I realized very quickly I have to work harder in comparison to my colleagues. I noticed that being of color in the workforce, I continuingly have to prove my worth as a leader in my leadership roles. This taught me to be more observant and have a clear vision of my goals.
What quote or saying inspires you?
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Building Leadership Team
Teacher Leadership and Compensation steering committee for Sioux City Schools
Intermediate Director for Sioux City Education Association
Siouxland Unit UniServe (SUU) President
Iowa State Education Association (ISEA) multicultural committee representative for Siouxland
Member of Sioux City’s Eastern Star chapter, Harmony Chapter #22, Order of the Eastern Stars, Jurisdiction of IA
Provide services to many non-profit organizations