(January 2023) No day is ever the same for KIPP Forward Match Counselor, Woodlynn Pierre. With a caseload of about thirty juniors and seniors, Woodlynn works alongside KIPP Academy Lynn Collegiate students in the KIPP Forward Match Process. While one student may be working on a personal statement for a college application, another student may be looking at the entrance requirements for the armed forces.
The Match Team at KIPP is a team of dedicated counselors who help students to realize their goals, dreams, and potential. The Match team works alongside students and their families in the decision making process of what a fulfilled life after high school looks like. For some, that means a four year university, a two year college, career training, or the military.
Woodlynn, a New York native, was a Posse Scholar which led her to attend a liberal arts school in Appleton, Wisconsin but had not chosen a career yet. She took education courses because of her previous experience with working with children and she knew she was passionate about youth identity development. After combining psychology courses alongside her education courses, Woodlynn graduated and headed to Chicago where she taught.
“That’s when I knew education was where it was at,” Woodlynn says, “I got into history because I love storytelling and learning about different people and how that changes over time. There are so many students who identify as Haitian or Haitian American like myself and I wanted to teach things like the Haitian revolution.”
Woodlynn started at KIPP Academy Lynn Collegiate in the 2019-2020 school year as a History II teacher. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and learning went remote, Google classroom and Zoom meetings became Woodlynn’s new reality at KIPP.
After seeing a weekly recruitment email sent by KIPP’s Recruitment and Retention Team, Woodlynn saw a highlight on the KIPP Forward team, and the role as a Match counselor specifically stuck out.
“I’d been through the process of applying for college and scholarships, and I knew that the role would keep me in education and give me meaningful interactions with students as they’re figuring out what they want to do with their lives.”
Now, as a Match Counselor and Manager, Woodlynn works alongside students as they begin to prepare for the greatest leap in their story so far: life after high school. Woodlynn shares that working alongside her colleagues and seeing how the work pays off with the students is a real bright spot to her role, noting that what The KIPP Forward Team does is special, and alongside allocated resources and efforts, it is work that not many other places could do.
“But the highlight of the year is definitely The Senior Commitment Ceremony,” Woodlynn says, “They get to tell their story of their senior year. Seeing their story come to an end with a smile on their face, they’re all so proud to be in front of people declaring ‘I’ve made this decision and I’m happy about it.’ In that moment, everyone feels like they’re ready to start the next part of their life, and that is really what Match is all about!”