“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

I'd like to hold many titles throughout my life, MBA, CEO, daughter, sister, aunt, wife, and mother -- but if I had to pick only one, I would choose "Teacher of the Year."

Every year in elementary school, we would vote for the teacher of the year. It wouldn't necessarily be the teacher that gave you the best grades or let you get away with the most. Instead, it was that teacher who challenged you to be a better student and, more importantly, a better person. In third grade, I voted for Mrs. Dodge. At first, I thought her sole purpose was to give me a hard time - whether I was a minute late to class, turned in a mediocre homework assignment, or threatened to quit field hockey. Over time, I understood that Mrs. Dodge had a sincere interest in my success. She did not let the negative stereotypes of being a black girl from Newark, NJ limit her expectations of me as a student and individual. She taught me that if I truly set my mind and heart to something, whether it was learning field hockey, being an excellent student or even going to college, I could do it.

I want to be that teacher.

I'll teach my colleagues and peers the keys to success. I'll be committed to their development and remember how my mentors have reached out to me and provided guidance over the years.

— Jessica Reid