Meet Our First Founding Teacher!

We recently interviewed Chrystal Hayes, the first founding teacher hired at Cornerstone Prep School, about her choice to join the work of a founding school. Keep reading to learn more about Chrystal and to get excited about applying for your child to attend Cornerstone Prep School!

What drew you to apply to a CEG school? I share the same mission and values as CEG, including the belief in the importance of kindergarten as the place where college preparation begins. It is in kindergarten where a foundation is laid for students’ educational experience going forward. Leadership and character development is essential. It is not enough to just fill the needs of students academically; it is a disservice to not educate the whole child. Like CEG, I believe in fostering students socially, emotionally, and academically. The Achievement School District model and the importance that CEG places on both student and teacher growth both resonate with me. 

Not only does CEG support students but their families as well. When families are supported and involved, students and their families value education on a deeper level. I also noticed the significant student success in CEG’s current schools. 

I also value the importance of the community and how CEG has relationships with community organizations. Every school develops a unique community within its walls. Yet, what's exciting is that CEG schools community reaches beyond the walls of the school. When communities and schools support and celebrate each other, schools and communities can thrive.

Tell us a little bit about your background and experience. I began teaching 9 years ago, in 2013, teaching in various grades in K-5 education. For 3 school years I have been a mentor with Memphis Teacher Residency (MTR), and next school year will be my fourth year as a resident with MTR.  I’m a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood education. I went on to receive a Master’s Degree of Science in Curriculum and Instruction from Arkansas State University.  

I have a special connection to charter schools as a student and educator. As a student, I was the valedictorian of the inaugural graduating class at Memphis Academy of Science and Engineering. In my experience as an educator, I have been a founding teacher for two other charter schools. 

Why are you excited to join the work of CPS as a founding teacher? This will be my third experience as a founding teacher. It is a unique experience to build the foundation of a new school, and I excited about being a part of this work. CPS is starting with one grave level and adding one grade at a time which I believe has many benefits. 

As a person who is passionate about literacy, I’m excited about the the CPS literacy initiative and the unique partnership with MTR. I enjoy working with and collaborating with other educators who are as passionate as I am about the work in literacy. I’ve always loved reading - and all the joys of literacy! - and want to share this love with my young learners.

PARENTS: click here to apply now or contact one of the school leaders at Cornerstone Prep School!