Clarisa Thurik, student at the San Jacinto College Early Childhood Lab School; Dusty Holbrook, San Jacinto College alumnus; Queen Okolise, San Jacinto College Lab School teacher; and Ava Johnston and Lowell Tompkins, San Jacinto College Lab School students. Photo credit: Jeannie Peng-Armao, San Jacinto College marketing department
Graduate follows passion through college and into the classroom
Jeannie Peng-Armao -- February 20, 2013
PASADENA, Texas – As many people mull over their decision to attend college, Dusty Holbrook of Deer Park proves how higher education gave him the credentials he needed to help land his career of choice.
Holbrook grew up teaching youth at his church and coaching football, so earning a living as an educator seemed like a natural step for him, or "Mr. D," as his students call him. When the time came to transition from high school to the real world, he set his sights on earning his certification as a teacher’s aide at San Jacinto College.
"I've always enjoyed more working in a team as opposed to teaching a class alone, yet I knew that I wanted to teach," said Holbrook. "Becoming certified as a teacher’s aide has always been my goal, and I accomplished that."
Succeeded is more like it, as Holbrook was recently hired by the Deer Park Independent School District. His college professor and chair of the child development/early childhood education department at San Jacinto College, Dr. Debbie Simpson-Smith, said Holbrook's high energy and approachability are just two of the many characteristics educators need to possess to make it into the field.
"Students feel comfortable around Dusty," said Simpson-Smith. "They enjoy coming over to him and talking to him. They learn that there are a lot more similarities among us than differences." Holbrook uses a wheelchair, which he says sparks up a conversation at times between him and preschool students.
Simpson-Smith said another element that sets Holbrook apart is the fact that he is a man pursuing a career in early childhood development, a field usually dominated by women.
"The profession needs more males who want to be teachers, and Dusty is quite the exception," said Simpson-Smith. "He, like so many, knows that you don’t teach for a paycheck. You teach because you love education.”
As he embarks on his newfound career working for the same district he earned his high school diploma from, Holbrook has now identified some of his favorite subjects.
"My favorite time is helping students with their reading and writing," said Holbrook. "When I read to them, I enjoy seeing how they react to the different stories and words. I also enjoy reading their writing because at their young age, their writing is in its most basic form."
As Simpson-Smith puts it, Holbrook has found his own reason for teaching, his passion, which serves as the ultimate reward for great educators.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. The Achieving the Dream Leader College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $630 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.
For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.