Anna Ridenour is a secondary school math teacher at Ohio Connections Academy (OCA). She is a graduate of OCA herself, and was inspired by her teachers to pursue a career in education. From OCA student to OCA teacher, Ms. Ridenour shares her story below.
“My virtual school journey started in 2003 when I was 11 years old. At that time, my family was still using dial-up internet and OCA was in its first year. As a fifth grader, I obviously knew nothing about content standards, educational research, or any of the things that go into creating an online school program, but I did know that I liked my new school and wanted to stick with it.
The most exciting thing about my educational journey has been the privilege of seeing how dedicated, talented teachers and administrators took this school from its infancy and continually improved and adapted the program—all while keeping the students' needs first on the list of priorities. I decided it was something I wanted to be a part of for a long time, even after graduation. That year, I had an amazing pre-algebra teacher, Ms. Pyle, who inspired me to follow in her footsteps and become a math teacher. My goal was to teach at OCA.
In high school, I took all honors classes and worked hard to get good grades so I could prepare myself for college. I knew I needed a high GPA to get into the college, and I also wanted to qualify for scholarships. In 2011, I graduated as valedictorian of my class and chose to attend Mount St. Joseph University, where I received a bachelor’s degree in math.
I graduated Magna Cum Laude as part of the Honors Program, and also received the honor of Outstanding Student Teacher in my class. This success shows that nontraditional students can excel in a traditional setting if they are given the right foundation.
After interviews with many schools, I was offered and accepted a job teaching ninth grade math with OCA, and have enjoyed every minute. My pre-algebra teacher who inspired me to become a math teacher is now on my math team, and she continues to inspire and challenge me as a teacher.
All my teachers that supported me through middle and high school prove to me every day that I made the right choice to stick with OCA. I am surrounded by talented, wonderful people who make me a better person and teacher by association. As amazing as my coworkers are, I have to say that the students really make my career meaningful—it is a privilege to get to know each one as individuals. They might not all love math the way I do, but they are each fantastically unique and make my job so incredibly fulfilling and exciting. The outstanding, dedicated people at OCA have quite literally changed my life and I will be forever grateful for that. I can only hope to have the same impact on my own students.”
The outstanding, dedicated people at OCA have quite literally changed my life and I will be forever grateful for that. I can only hope to have the same impact on my own students.