Three Midstate Teachers Win Styling Sessions at Goodwill

Three lucky Middle Tennessee school teachers received personal styling sessions with a well-known Nashville fashion blogger, free outfits and school supplies in a giveaway sponsored by Goodwill.

The winning teachers were Totika Mansfield, who teaches students with severe to profound disabilities in grades 9-12 at Page High School in Franklin; Donyelle Townsend, an 11th grade English teacher at Lead Academy High in Nashville; and Karlee Bailey, a fifth-grade teacher at Nannie Berry Elementary in Hendersonville.

They were chosen from among more than 100 teachers nominated for the giveaway by students, parents and community members who felt their exemplary skills and special dedication to students deserved recognition. Nominators said all three of the winning teachers frequently bought classroom supplies out of their own pockets.

On Aug. 2, Porsche “Polished” Pope, a Nashville fashion blogger and stylist, devoted an hour-long styling session to each of the three Goodwill Style Your Teacher Back-2-School Giveaway winners. Each teacher also received a $50 gift card from Goodwill a $100 gift card for school supplies from Dollar General. The styling sessions were held at the Rivergate Goodwill store, 2101 Gallatin Pike N. in Madison.

Porsche demonstrated the benefits of shopping at Goodwill for back-to-school gear, including low everyday prices; a 10 percent daily discount on regular-priced merchandise for students and teachers; tax-free clothes and shoes; and racks organized by color to help shoppers find standard school attire.

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TOTIKA MANSFIELD

Page High School, Franklin

Mansfield’s nominator said she has a “gift for reaching even the hardest to reach students and bringing them to a higher level” and noted that she sponsors a Best Buddies program at her school which fosters friendships between special education students and those from mainstream classes.

“I have taught my students things, but I have learned so much more from them,” said Mansfield, who has a master’s degree in special education and has been teaching for eight years. “They taught me patience and how to humble myself. They are like my own children. I love what I do.”

Mansfield, a frequent Goodwill shopper, says she supports the nonprofit not only because of its bargains but also because it helps people such as her students through its mission of changing lives through education, training and employment. She noted that some of her special education students eventually receive work experience at Goodwill, which is one of the state’s largest employers of people with disabilities.

“I think of it as a cycle,” she explained. “You donate to Goodwill, and they sell affordable clothing and provide jobs for people who might not otherwise have them. It’s a cycle in the community.”

DONYELLE TOWNSEND

Lead Academy High, Nashville

Townsend received 30 nominations — the most of any teacher. Students, parents and others in the community noted her passion for teaching, her ability to form close relationships with students from at-risk neighborhoods and her determination to make her classroom an enjoyable, comfortable place to learn.

“Donyelle should win because she loves the children,” said one nominator. “She’s caring, giving, kind and helpful. Donyelle is more than a teacher. … Students come to her with problems, and she’s always coming up with solutions to help them.”

Townsend, who is expecting a third son this month, said she feels as if her students are her own children, and she is proud of the lasting connections she makes with them. For many of her students, English is a second language. Some are from low-income families or face other disadvantages.

“A lot of them are not on the level they should be when it comes to reading,” she explained, “but our classroom, they’ve learned, is a safe place. They know they can trust me, and I’m here to help them. So, with reading aloud, for instance, they are willing to try and to struggle through.”

KARLEE BAILEY

Nannie Berry Elementary, Hendersonville

Bailey graduated from Tennessee State University in 2009 and for three years worked with special education students as a teacher’s assistant. In 2012, she began teaching science at Hunter Middle School in Hendersonville, and in 2017, her seventh-grade students’ standardized test scores ranked first in the district and 18th in the state.  

“I hope to bring the same success teaching all academic subjects to my fifth-grade students this year,” she added. “It will take a lot of work, but I am looking forward to the challenge.”

Bailey said the giveaway would make it easier for her to dress professionally at work.

“Teachers, on their salaries, do not have the monetary means to go out and buy clothes all the time,” she said. “And with the Dollar General gift card, I plan to buy white boards, books, colored pencils and things for my classroom writing center.”

Bailey, who frequently visits the Goodwill stores in Hendersonville and Madison, says she likes knowing that by shopping she helps people in her community.

“I like the opportunity it gives people to get work experience who might not have it at other venues,” she said.

SAVE THE DATE 10.18.18

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