From Paraprofessional to Teacher: Caitlin’s Alternate Route to Success!

Some people know they want to be teachers early in their lives, and some are inspired along the way. The latter was the case for The Phoenix Center’s Caitlin Malone, who like so many educators saw a unique opportunity at our school, which offers a place to grow personally and professionally.

“I started out as a paraprofessional, a few years later I became a head paraprofessional, and that inspired me to take my practice exams, so now I’m going Alternate Route as my bachelors degree was in another field,” Caitlin says. Rutgers University in New Jersey offers an Alternate Route, a program for professionals who did not receive degrees in education but want to work in schools. 

“Being in every position (in the classroom) helped me grow,” she says. Caitlin has been an invaluable resource at The Phoenix Center, and her institutional knowledge and years of experience in multiple capacities make her a vital member of our community. For those looking to advance their careers without sacrificing job time, Alternate Route is a wonderful resource as working professionals can simultaneously study and keep their jobs so they can more swiftly unlock opportunities.

Caitlin is “such an amazing role model for the paraprofessionals in the room because she knows exactly what they are going through every day,” shares Amy Bollinger, The Phoenix Center’s Unit Supervisor. Through learned communication skills from on-the-job experience and working with students in various classes, from art to gym, Caitlin “is able to give other paraprofessionals so many tools,” Amy says. She “acts as a model” for others.