We are just one short month away from the first day of school on Monday, August 15. Students and staff across the district are beginning to prepare for the new school year, with many of them, like Rochelle Kent, starting new chapters of their lives. 

Kent, an Irving native and MacArthur High School alum, will start the next chapter of her career as a special education aide at T.J. Lee Elementary School, a campus she is proud to call home. Her return to Irving ISD began during the pandemic in 2020, when she noticed how hard teachers were working to navigate education during COVID-19. 

“I have two special needs children, and after seeing how hard their teachers were working, I thought, what can I do to help,” says Kent. “So, I decided to become a guest educator at Lee Elementary to help alleviate some of the stresses teachers were experiencing.”

After excelling as a guest educator, Kent was offered a full-time position.

“I love the energy on that campus,” she says. “I felt like I could go to anyone with a question, and I knew I wasn’t a bother.” 

Good energy is one of the things that led Kent back home to Irving ISD. That and the fact that she says Irving is a huge part of who she is. 

As a student at MacArthur High School, Kent described herself as artsy. From choir to theater, she was extremely involved. However, she didn’t know what she wanted to do after graduation. After earning her high school diploma in 2002, she attended Dallas College (previously Dallas North Lake College) for a short time, but says it was difficult to focus then. Kent put college on hold and joined the workforce. 

“I had various jobs from HR to recruiting, but nothing sat with me like working with children did,” adds Kent. 

While attending Bear Creek Community Church in Irving, Kent spent a lot of time working with children in the congregation. It was then that she realized she had a calling for educating the youth. Fast forward 20 years, Kent is living her purpose and taking steps to achieve her goals. Her biggest one is to re-enroll at Dallas College this upcoming semester, earn her degree and get certified to teach. 

“My journey took a little longer, but that’s okay,” she says.