JoAnne Brown says she shies away from accolades. What she moves toward is helping her students succeed, says Brown, the multicultural student coordinator at Madison Memorial High School.
Part of her job is not only mentoring students, but also teaching them to be mentors. That is also a focus of Memorial's Black Student Union. In addition, the Minority Student Achievement Network has a program in which high school students mentor younger students who are transitioning from middle school.
Brown's desire to help her students started at a young age. "My mom tells me that I was always the one giving away my toys, inviting kids to the house to get something to eat." She also is a child of immigrants; her parents came from Ghana in West Africa in the 1970s. "I understand people," she says. "I understand them because either I've studied it, lived it or have had someone go through it."
Brown is aware of the barriers many students face. She says she enjoys providing opportunities for them. "I thank all my kids' parents for allowing me to be that support for them when they can't, or in addition to what they do."
The M List
Madison Magazine's M List is a who's who of organizations and individuals who are having an impact on our local culture and economy. In its fourth year, the M List recognizes those making strides as mentors and teachers. Last year's list of honorees were making impacts in the area of social innovation. The original M List, in 2013, honored the technology sector. The 2014 M List honored "Foodtastic" entrepreneurs and innovators.