With the support and guidance from EnCorps STEM Teachers, LaTeira made the transition from being an immunologist to becoming a teacher. In 2016 she was named Los Angeles Unified School District’s 2016 Rookie of the Year and in 2017, she was selected as a finalist for the Educator of the Year award by the California League of High Schools for her outstanding contributions to her school’s biology department. She taught Biology and Physiology and Forensic Science. LaTeira’s former principal, Simone Charles, describes LaTeira: “People think of athletes as role models. Well, here we have an African-American woman scientist as a role model. She shows what can be accomplished by people who look like her.”
LaTeira is passionate about teaching in high-need communities because she recognizes the impact that dedicated and qualified teachers can have on the lives of students. She believes she is a testament to the dedication and care of such teachers. Although neither of her parents went to college, LaTeira completed a Bachelor’s degree in science and a PhD in biomedical sciences at UC San Diego. She says none of this would have been possible without her former teachers’ encouragement. LaTeira is now a teacher who helps her students aspire to achieve more than their circumstances say they can.
LaTeira taught 9th grade biology in South Los Angeles at Dymally High School. She shares, “One of my passions in life is to see people live up to their potential. I have such fun watching my students grow and accomplish what I know they can do. I tell them ‘I’m a brain personal trainer’ to help shape the way they view the class because sometimes they get the idea that teachers are supposed to give them all the answers. To that I say, ‘No. Personal trainers don’t lift the weights for you. They just tell you that you can do it and the right way to do it. So I’m your brain personal trainer, and this is what you can expect from my class.’”
LaTeira’s former principal, Simone Charles, describes LaTeira: “Dr. Haynes is a huge blessing. Her energy, her knowledge, her willingness to work with students, especially those who are more of a challenge… She’s the reason kids are here. People think of athletes as role models. Well, here we have an African-American woman scientist as a role model. She shows what can be accomplished by people who look like her.”
LaTeira has credentials to teach Biology, Physics and Biotechnology CTE courses. She currently teaches at King / Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles.