Dallas ISD is home to mother and daughter teachers

When Myles Bennett, a first-grade teacher at Dan D. Rogers Elementary School, told her mother how wonderful it would be to someday teach at her school, she never imagined that it would come true.

“We used to think about what it would be like to be at the same school, and we laughed about how there’d be two Miss Bennetts,” said Sandra Bennett, Myles’ mom and a fourth-grade teacher at Dan D. Rogers. The two English as a second language teachers are known as “Bennett fourth” and “Bennett first” according to the grades they teach. 

Both recently were recognized by the district in the annual Winners Circle event, one as the school’s Campus Teacher of the Year and the other as a Teacher of Promise. 

“We didn’t realize that significance until we were both invited to the ceremony. So, we thought ‘I would have taken you anyway,’ and she would have taken me anyway,” Sandra said. 

“I was really excited for my mom,” Myles said. “It’s been a long time coming, and I think, honestly, I’m just so proud of her and proud to be her daughter.” 

Attending the ceremony with them was their principal, Marissa Limon, who has been a colleague of Sandra for years and who has known Myles since she was in middle school. 

Myles, who is in her third year of teaching, is a product of Dallas ISD, having attended Mockingbird Elementary and Henry W. Longfellow Career Exploration Academy and graduated from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Arts. 

“I grew up volunteering at Dan D. Rogers, and would come and help out in events, such as the fall carnival and the wax museum—a project that my mom does in her class,” Myles said. “I was very familiar with the community here, and with my mom being a teacher, I saw the impact that one can have on the lives of the students, and it really inspired me to become a teacher.” 

Her mom, Sandra, who has worked for the district for 25 years—15 of those at Dan D. Rogers— has seen the impact a teacher can have on students. A few years ago, some former students found her on social media and about 16 of them took her out to dinner.

“It’s about the relationships that you build,” Sandra said. “I’m getting to see what Myles is looking forward to.”

There’s students in Myles’ class who are in first-grade and who have siblings in fourth grade. Sometimes a fourth-grade sibling might come up to her and mention something that they heard they were working on, such as learning about the colonies. 

“It’s cool to see just how connected we can be in that way,” Myles said.  “It’s nice to share families, while we share [our own] family,” she said, referring to her mom. 

Myles and Sandra often find moments to connect during the day. They describe themselves as “early birds,” arriving at the school early every morning. Sandra brings yogurt or something similar for Myles’ breakfast, and they both get to FaceTime with Sandra’s other daughter, who is studying in England. The time zone difference and that space before the day begins is perfect for the two siblings and mother to have a few moments before the students enter the building and the school day begins. 

Besides being co-workers, this dynamic mother-daughter duo worked on the curriculum for a chapter book, for students in first grade through fifth grade. The book is titled “Closet of Dreams,” and it just came out a couple of weeks ago. They also wrote a teacher’s guide for the book that has suggested activities for teachers to do with their students, Sandra said. Sandra focused on the content, while Myles focused on the technical aspects of it, such as making it aesthetically pleasing and easy to access. 

Through this work, both Myles and Sandra continue to be inspired by the families and students that they serve in their school, which they describe as the best in the district.

“I think about the general impact, and I kind of zoom out and think about how I am somebody who is showing up for these kids every day,” Sandra said. “I work with the kids to help them realize their potential and their confidence in themselves, just as I am as well.”

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