Mary Downs arrived in Anchor Point, Alaska in 1992 where she enrolled in the Education Program through University of Alaska. In 1999 she graduated with a Bachelor degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Art. As a late bloomer, Mary received her first contract from the Unalaska City School District for the 1999-2000 school year teaching 4th grade. The Aleutian Islands became her home for 13 years. Mary continued to teach 4th grade until 2012 when she retired and became a mentor for the Alaska Statewide Mentor Project.
During her employment with Unalaska School District, Mary served as the coordinator for the after school Unangan Program; facilitator of the annual Eagle's View Elementary Art Show; as a mentor for new 4th grade teachers; and an instructor for a writing consortium class for the district.
"My joy in teaching comes from those moments when I see their eyes sparkle with "I get it" — oh my goodness, what a teacher thrill. But, then there is the other side when they share something where my eyes sparkle with "I have never thought of that." and my brain is changed forever. Teaching is a two way street — where the learning goes both ways. I truly believe that our teachers come in every walk of life and we have to take time, have patience, pay attention and listen. As I approach my new job as a mentor I am expecting to see that two way street where we learn from each other.
I am so excited about the new resources and tools of the mentor project and delighted that I get to continue to work around a variety of learners. Educating children is truly a unique and stimulating job."