How one brother and sister team became educators and Ambassador Leaders.
Recently, we sat down with siblings Chuck and Alyssa Maddox, both of whom served on Ambassador Leaders Summits in 2018. We wanted to know more about what brought them both to the classroom, what they love about travel, and what they admire about one another.
Ambassador Leaders: Tell our readers a little bit about who you are, how long you’ve been teaching, and your most recent Ambassador Leaders travel experience.
Chuck: I’m am a Middle School Academic Dean and Spanish teacher in Florida. I grew up in Ohio and got my bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati before moving to Florida in 2010. I earned my master’s degree from Saint Leo University. During the summer of 2018, I traveled to Johns Hopkins University with Ambassador Leaders for both of the Medicine and Health Care Summits. Although I’ve been a teacher leader in the past, this summer I worked as a staff member to make sure everything ran smoothly behind the scenes.
Alyssa: For the past three years, I have worked as a 3rd grade teacher in a low-income area of South Florida. My job is both rewarding and challenging. I am new to the Ambassador Leaders’ community and traveled to my first Summit this past summer at Harvard University. It was a great opportunity to get my feet wet with Ambassador Leaders, but definitely had me wanting more!
Ambassador Leaders: What inspired you to become educators? Is it coincidental that, as siblings, you both ended up being teachers?
Chuck: I never thought I’d be a teacher. I started college as a pre-med major but quickly realized that track wasn’t for me. I did some self-reflection and decided to switch majors to secondary education with Spanish for my concentration. I am not a native or heritage Spanish speaker, but I had a fantastic Spanish teacher in high school with whom I really connected. In part, that’s why I chose Spanish. I try to remind myself every day that I can make that same impact on each student who enters my classroom.
Alyssa and I have another sister who’s actually an educator too! She is a professor at Florida International University. Our parents aren’t teachers so it was totally chance all of us entered the teaching profession. At our house in Ohio, Alyssa used to play school in her “classroom,” which was equipped with an overhead projector, chalkboard, and all of the classroom essentials.
Alyssa: For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a teacher. I would play teacher in our basement to make-believe students using the overhead projector I was given for Christmas one year. I went all out! It has always been a dream of mine, but now, it’s something I share with both of my siblings. While my older siblings found their calling later in life, I don’t think it was a coincidence. We all share the passion and leadership abilities to make us naturally-born educators. It is really fun to share this profession with them, and we often discuss ideas to grow as educators together.
Ambassador Leaders: Who got involved with Ambassador Leaders first? Would you want to travel together to the same Summit?
Chuck: I got involved with Ambassador Leaders first. In 2016, I joined as a teacher leader. Alyssa and I vacation together frequently; we both love going on cruises. In fact, the picture above was taken on a cruise! We would definitely travel together on a Summit.
Alyssa: Chuck got involved first, but after hearing about his great experiences each year, I knew I needed to try it for myself. It definitely lived up to the hype! I think it would be fun to travel together to a Summit. We work together through various church events, so it would be a natural transition to work together at Ambassador Leaders too.
Ambassador Leaders: What strengths or leadership traits do you think your sibling brings to the table?
Chuck: Alyssa is full of heart. Each day, she works with students who are underprivileged, homeless, and in need of essentials others consider standard. She brings the same devotion to her work with Ambassador Leaders. She is organized, positive, and always gives 100%.
Alyssa: Chuck has many strengths I admire. He has an amazing ability to make decisions quickly and prioritize efficiently. In any situation, he can see all sides and act on what’s best for everyone involved. He is very proactive in anticipating the needs of his colleagues. Chuck is also very eloquent in his speech, both in one-on-one conversations and public speaking opportunities. I am always amazed at how well he communicates and relates to his audience.
Ambassador Leaders: As one part of a dynamic sibling duo yourself, what advice would you give students about helping their siblings succeed?
Chuck: To me, the sibling relationship resembles a wave. While growing up, your relationship with your sibling goes up and down; some moments are high ones full of laughter and love, and other moments are low ones with unfiltered thoughts and relationships taken for granted. As you grow older, your sibling relationship becomes more even like when the wave comes to shore and slowly runs onto the sand. You start to truly appreciate your siblings and the love they have for you. You enjoy spending time with them. You ask them for advice. They become your best friends. When your sibling succeeds, you succeed. Remember that as you’re growing up. It will become more apparent with each passing year.
Alyssa: My advice would be to use each other as much as you can. Whether that be to push each other to try new things, like Chuck did when he encouraged me to join Ambassador Leaders, or to use each other for ideas to grow as individuals, your sibling can be an excellent resource for you. I know for me, Chuck is often the one I turn to first when I need advice, ideas, or new opportunities.
By Corie Bales
Corie is the Academic Affairs Manager of Ambassador Leaders. As a lifelong educator and avid traveler, she believes in empowering students and teachers to learn and lead through experiential education.