TCA pathway leads student to teaching career, now back to LPS

As a senior at Lincoln Southeast High School, Zoe Prenda was unsure about her college plans - or if she would go at all. Then she enrolled in the K-12 education pathway at The Career Academy (TCA).

“I was not very good at school and I was looking for a way to be engaged again,” she said. “TCA really ignited the spark I needed to love school again.”

Prenda graduated from Southeast in 2016, attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and now is among the first students from the K-12 education pathway to enter the teaching profession. She started teaching first grade at Everett Elementary School this year.

“I have always dreamed of teaching at LPS,” Prenda said.

She credits TCA with cementing her decision to be a teacher and preparing her for college. She also was able to immediately start taking courses for her education major because of the credits she earned while at TCA, which is a partnership with Southeast Community College.

“I could go on and on about TCA. I loved the program, I loved the teachers, I loved being able to do that as a high schooler,” Prenda said.

LPS Associate Superintendent for Human Resources Eric Weber said the school district hopes to continue to draw upon the pool of TCA graduates who eventually move into teaching jobs. Simply put, they have an inside track when applying for an LPS teaching job.

“Zoe is a perfect example of what we want that program to do. She came through LPS, she had this opportunity she didn’t know was going to be there and she took advantage of that,” Weber said. “She came through TCA strong, went into her four-year program and when she came out and we had the chance to recruit her, it was a no-brainer.” 

Another no-brainer? Being a teacher, Prenda said.

“It’s the best profession in the whole wide world.”

Published: December 8, 2020, Updated: December 8, 2020