Taylor Panzer

Taylor Panzer headshot.
My time with Bass Connections was the catalyst that ignited my passion for educational equity and has led me to pursue education policy as a career.

Degree

Psychology T'18

Project Team

Current Position

High School Science Teacher, Harlem Village Academies

My time with Bass Connections during my sophomore year at Duke University was the catalyst that ignited my passion for educational equity and has led me to pursue education policy as a career. I always knew I cared about public education, as my public school teachers in rural North Carolina always pushed me to dream bigger. However, I never considered education as a possible career option until I was able to work directly with the local Durham community and improve the educational opportunities for high-need children through my Bass Connections project.

Fast forward five years, and all of my current work can be traced back to our project with Families Moving Forward and the opportunity I had to engage directly with education. Following our project, I decided to take an educational psychology course to further explore the ways in which children learn and how best we can support their learning. After realizing that educational psychology was my favorite course I had ever taken at Duke, I committed to my passion for public education and decided to join Teach For America following graduation.

During my time with TFA, I taught high school biology and psychology in Dallas, Texas. Over those two years, I began to notice that many of the issues my students faced could not be changed from within the classroom. Instead, my students faced a variety of issues that could best be impacted through public policy, including school funding, lack of access to healthcare, immigration, and structural and racial inequity that is built into our school systems. This led me to pursue a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government to gain policy expertise and learn how various policies can intersect to impact public education.

Now, I have returned to teach in New York City to gain a broader perspective of the public school system in the United States and continue to work toward educational equity within the classroom. I hope to transition into educational leadership and policy in the next few years, and continue to fight for my students, and all students, to have the quality education they deserve.

October 2021