From Student to Teacher
Math and Science Teacher
As a high school student, Amber Frazier appreciated the role models she found in her teachers, in part because they were ethnically diverse. “All of my high school teachers were minority teachers,” says Amber, who grew up in Carson, California, and earned her Master in Teaching Mathematics and Science degree in 2014. “I was able to have a picture of success that didn’t seem so far away.”
This is not the case for most students of color in the United States. In Washington state, only 8 percent of teachers are teachers of color, while 40 percent of students are students of color.
Amber formerly taught math and science at Seattle’s Rainier Beach High School, where 95 percent of students belong to an ethnic minority group. She’s hoping to become the kind of role model she had as a student.
Amber studied physics at Seattle Pacific University, and chose to earn her master’s in teaching math and science from SPU. She was a Martinez Fellow, which means she received a scholarship, mentoring, and ongoing professional development. The Martinez Foundation was started by former Major League Baseball all-star Edgar Martinez and his wife, Holli Beeler Martinez ’91, to improve teacher diversity and the retention of teachers of color in Washington state.
Amber student-taught at Seattle’s Roosevelt High School last year. Her mentor teacher, Bryan Marenstein, says that she went out of her way to connect with students. “She would go to the school dances, sporting events, or a play, if one of the students was in it,” he says.
Amber hopes for similar connections in her teaching.
“I wanted to go to a place where I could make the greatest impact with students who I thought needed it the most.”