25 Years Later, Former Brightside Student Turned Teacher Earns A.A. Degree in Education

25 Years Later, Former Brightside Student Turned Teacher Earns A.A. Degree in Education

We are excited to announce that Robert Simpson, PHLpreK Lead Teacher at Mellon, recently earned his Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Education from Harcum College.

Robert attended our 56th & Woodland Avenue academy from ages 4 to 5 and has fond memories of his teacher teaching him the alphabet, how to count, and how to write his name.

“Overall, my experience was great and fun,” Robert says. “We learned so much, and we always did something fun and my teachers kept us engaged.”

His time at Brightside ignited a spark in him.

 “When I was home, I used to play school and teacher” and give lessons to his teddy bears, Robert says. As he got older, the joy he experienced at Brightside and other school settings ultimately inspired him to pursue education as a career.

Now that he’s a teacher, Robert says that one of his favorite parts of working at Brightside is the opportunities for growth.

Brightside's partnership with T.E.A.C.H. (a program that helps fund degrees in education for teachers) “paid half my tuition” for his A.A. degree, he explains. Robert also appreciates that Brightside encourages internal promotions.

Additionally, Robert greatly enjoys preparing children for kindergarten and the wider world of elementary school.

Robert says that his time in the classroom informed his coursework, and vice versa.

“I started at Harcum College in March 2021. I knew about child development, but as I look back at where I used to be and now, I have grown as an educator and as a professional. My students help me too!”

Please join us in congratulating Robert on his A.A. degree.

If you are a Brightside staff member and have recently earned a degree, let us know! Any team member interested in receiving assistance for a degree program in education can visit the T.E.A.C.H. website for more information.