Showing Up for Scholars: How Authenticity Drives DPPS’ Founding Director of Scholar Support

This is Sharese Maine’s second year in the role of Director of Scholar Support. She began her work with Democracy Prep as a DREAM coach at Harlem Prep Middle a little more than five years ago and then moved into the role of Scholar Support Specialist before becoming Director of Scholar Support. Sharese coaches all of the DREAM coaches and provides them with training and professional development.

She is DPPS’ founding Director of Scholar Support, and it is a role she takes very seriously. She works tirelessly to find new ways to do more and be better, all in the name of helping scholars.

“In this role, I have to think about better ways to support our scholars,” said Sharese. “I have to think about better ways to push myself. I’m really committed to the work, and I have a passion for working with scholars; it’s an honor to be able to step into this role.”

Sharese is driven to reach every single scholar, no matter how long it takes. She has countless stories of how she and her Democracy Prep colleagues went out of their way to help struggling scholars.

Recently, a scholar’s mother passed away, and a group of Democracy Prep staff members rallied together to provide emotional support.

“We started a group chat with her to check in and let her know [that] if she needed anything [she could] text us and that we would be there for her,” said Sharese. “She does. She texts, calls, and emails us. I went to visit her the other day. Our scholars appreciate [this] not just from me but from all of us [at Democracy Prep] that we are there to support our scholars.”

Sharese also loves Democracy Prep’s celebration of individuality.

“Democracy Prep does an amazing job at allowing people to be themselves,” said Sharese. “They allow you to be you. You don’t need to change. Just be you, but be the best version of you.”

This culture of inclusivity reaches all members of the network: staff, scholars, and the community.

“I believe that if, from the top, we allow the adults to be who they are and make mistakes and grow, then it is our job to do that for our kids [as well],” said Sharese. “If that process continues down the line, then many of our scholars be able to go places and be confident in who they are.”

One of the ways Sharese believes scholars can be confident in who they are is by advocating for themselves. She will co-lead a session at DP YOU called “Make Me: Engaging Student Resistance at School!” that will explore the ways to engage with scholar resistance. She will also co-lead a session called “Keep Calm and Respond: A Proactive and Preventative Approach to Addressing Challenging Behaviors.”

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