A mother to many KIPPsters and her own children, Ms. Okoli (often called just “Okoli”) was born in Dublin, Ireland and came to the U.S. with a high school education. She worked at a bank during the day, while attending college at night, ultimately wanting to become a pharmacist.
And while she committed to her own education for herself and her family, her son, Kris, began kindergarten and was growing up disliking school. Okoli knew she needed to make a change for Kris when he went to middle school.
One day, working in the bank, Okoli saw an advertisement for Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin’s school, KIPP. She was so impressed with their passion for teaching and impacting students that she immediately enrolled Kris. She even reconsidered own future, changing her major to education. Graduating college at the age of 40, Okoli was ready to make her mark and became a founding teacher at KIPP SHINE.
“I chose KIPP for several reasons,” Okoli explained. “They are there for you for life, they truly believe family is important, and I don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. Instead, I can do what is best for each of my students.”
Okoli continues to excel in teaching year after year, but what we love about her more than data driven results, is her voice as a mother. Okoli’s son and daughter both have followed in her footsteps and currently work at KIPP.
“She always gives 100% and earns everything she gets,” Kris said. “I love her for that.”
We know our teachers go above and beyond their job descriptions daily. Being a mother and a teacher is no exception. Okoli not only leads and loves her own children well, but truly cares for and invests in every KIPPster that walks through her door.
“Okoli truly wants her students to feel loved,” Adriana Fernandez, KIPP mother, shared. “She cares about more than just academics. She is very tough, but she loves, empowers, and believes in her students.”