March is Women’s History Month and Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana is excited to celebrate a woman leader who is dedicated to changing lives through education. ZyAnna Brown is a Social and Emotional Learning Lead (SEL) at Indianapolis Metropolitan High School, Goodwill’s best-fit school for students experiencing barriers to learning.
In her role, ZyAnna teaches students new behavioral skills, which allows them to better balance and articulate their emotions.
“It’s pretty rewarding,” said ZyAnna. “My favorite part of my work is seeing our students practice the social and emotional skills they’ve learned.”
However, students grow at different paces. ZyAnna has adapted to giving students the space to navigate the skills they’re learning that might be brand new to them. Her dedication to the work pushes her to grow – and, most importantly, teach.
“If a child cannot read or solve a math equation, we teach them; when a child misbehaves, we punish,” said ZyAnna. “At Indy Met, we instead teach our students and give them the tools they need to succeed in the classroom.”
As a Black woman, Women’s History Month is an important and busy time for her.
“I want to celebrate the women that have paved the way for me to be here and the women in my generation who walk with me,” said ZyAnna. “And I want to ensure I am doing my part to ensure women can walk after me.”
At Indy Met, ZyAnna often connects with and coaches students who are young Black women. Outside of work, she bonds with her family, empowering her young daughter and cousins to be whoever they want to be.
“During Women’s History Month, I think of all the young ladies in my family,” said ZyAnna. “I celebrate what they do in life. As Black women, it’s important for them to know how beautiful they are with their natural hair and beauty.”
She’s heavily inspired by her mom, a strong woman who empowered ZyAnna the same way she empowers the many women around her.
“She pushed me to be great and made sure I became something of myself,” ZyAnna said. “I appreciate that.”