Be Inspired by Aretha Sanders, GBH-NEPM Educator Ambassador

We’re proud to focus our lens on Aretha Sanders, one of our regional GBH/NEPM Educator Ambassadors — a program that brings together  K-12 educators who teach in a wide variety of roles, disciplines, and grades across the Commonwealth, each one using innovative approaches to integrate technology in the classroom.

A video production teacher at Springfield’s High School of Science and Technology, Aretha shares how PBS LearningMedia helps support her students’ studies in this taping of her and students.  What you don’t learn in this video is Aretha’s longtime, inspiring work with the Freedom Writers Foundation, formed through the work of educator Erin Gruwell and the successes of her students once labeled “unteachable.”  Their story was told in the 1994 New York Times best seller, The Freedom Writers Diary and the film Freedom Writers, starring Hillary Swank.

Aretha, too, is dedicated to the socio-emotional needs of her students and aware that they shouldn’t be defined by circumstances such as poverty and trauma.  Understanding that students need at least one caring adult in their lives, her motto is “If you can’t reach them, you can’t teach them.”  As the result of her close work with students, one wrote a story chosen to appear in the new book, Dear Freedom Writer:  Stories of Hardship and Hope from the Next Generation.

You can learn more about the 2022 Educator Ambassadors here and explore PBS LearningMedia resources here.  If you’d like to be considered as a future Educator Ambassador, please contact Bess Kapetanis, NEPM Educator Engagement Coordinator, at

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