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Staffer is passionate about preparing students to ‘go anywhere’

Kyndra Brown believes knowledge is power and everyone can learn.

Those ideals make her perfectly suited to be the developmental education manager at Tidewater Community College’s Chesapeake Campus.

Brown manages the curriculum for developmental education, which includes grammar, reading and math. The program involves more than teaching core subjects. Faculty also focus on basic study skills, test taking, problems solving and even critical thinking skills.

“Because middle and high schools are so focused on SOLs, students aren’t learning how to learn,” Brown said. “Some students’ skills are so low that they aren’t considered university material. But we can help them get a firm foundation and then they can really ‘go anywhere.’ ”

At any given time, the Chesapeake Campus has 100 developmental students in one or more subjects. These classes are required before students can advance to college-level courses.

Brown believes social media play a big part in students failing to learn. “Back in the ’90s, I read a book, ‘Countdown 20/20,’ that hypothesized that by 2020 people would not be able to memorize a nine-digit number, and we’re seeing that now,” she said.

Brown’s favorite part of her job is meeting with students and keeping them on track. “Some students come here just so defeated. We have those important conversations and give them the tools they need to succeed. Soon they’re working hard and really making it,” she said.

“I tell my students all the time, ‘I don’t want to hold your hand. I want to give you a tool and teach you how to use it.’ ”

The developmental education program uses various methods for learning, including Kahn Academy videos and remediation worksheets created by Brown.

A woman of faith, Brown said she often stops to pray when she see struggling students. “I always want to give hope, and in those moments, I need all the help I can get,” she said with a laugh.

Brown joined TCC for the first time in 1993 and worked for close to two decades in student support areas. She left the college for five years to work as director of student support services for Lubbock Christian University in Texas. She returned to TCC in 2016 for this new position, which also allows her to be near her aging parents.

TCC has developmental education managers on every campus. Classes are offered day, evening and online.

“I absolutely love the diversity of students,” Brown said. “I want them all to know that we have the resources to make our motto a reality for each of them. I don’t want anyone to ever feel like they’re not able to learn.”

Brown met her husband, Douglas, when he was doing security work at TCC’s Norfolk Campus. The couple attends Village Community church in Portsmouth and resides in Chesapeake. They have two adult children who are both college graduates.