Teyonda Hall was LearningWorks’ English Language + Literacy Director from 2011 to 2017, when she decided to take a leap of faith and move to her home state of Utah to start a new chapter of her life. Prior to that, she ran a LearningWorks Afterschool program at Riverton Elementary School, a special literacy project in Lewiston, and also worked as a case manager, helping children and young adults navigate challenges that were preventing them from achieving their academic goals.
During her time at LearningWorks, it became clear that Teyonda possesses an uncommon talent. She is equally at ease in the board room delivering a presentation on her programs, in the classroom where she teaches adult English Language Learners, and in the hallways of an elementary school, where students referred to her affectionately as “Miss T.” Her talents were a juggling act. Much like that picture of the Cat in the Hat standing on a ball and holding a stack of books in one hand; a rake, umbrella and goldfish bowl in the other; and a cake and cup of tea on his head, Teyonda could be found writing curriculum, whipping up a few training videos for new volunteers, accompanying donors on program site visits, recruiting hundreds of volunteer teachers and tutors, and writing reports, seemingly all at the same time on some days.
When asked about Teyonda, our Lead Classroom EL+L Teacher, Julie Faure, said, “When you meet Teyonda, what strikes you in quick succession are first her warmth, then her intelligence, and finally her fabulous sense of humor. She creates a comfort zone around students and teachers alike.
Regarding her impact, Director of Programs Jessica Moninski said, “Teyonda’s career at LearningWorks has been devoted to helping people overcome barriers to pursue their dreams. For as long as I’ve known her, her personal brand has been to empower others. Most recently, Teyonda used her intelligence, fearlessness, and intuition to further this sentiment with her most daring feat yet – she developed from scratch an innovative new intensive English language and literacy program that yields unprecedented results for students. Along her journey, Teyonda has shaped this community by in the most profound way possible: she has given hundreds of people their voice.”
For six years, Teyonda was the glue that held so many of our programs together, moving seamlessly between behavioral health services, afterschool education, and adult literacy programming and connecting with colleagues over shared tales of traveling, her love of learning new languages, and more. Her creativity and generosity created opportunities for her students like community potlucks and game nights that won’t be easily replicated in her absence. During her time here, Teyonda worked with over 500 students and clients across three programs, impacting each one with her quick wit, sense of humor, passion, and dedication. As Julie so aptly put it, “Teyonda is an ambassador-at-large of the human heart.” We can’t wait to see where her talent and drive will take her next, and are grateful for all she did to shape LearningWorks in its first 50 years.
Photography courtesy of Molly Haley | www.mollyhaley.com