April McDonnell

April McDonnell

Intermediate School Teacher

Bachelor’s Degree in Education, Delta State University

April McDonnell started teaching in 2006 and joined Tennessee Connections Academy in 2021. She teaches science to students in eighth grade.

Why I Became a Teacher

I knew from a very young age that I would be a teacher. I can remember my preschool teacher reading books to us and thinking that one day I want to read to kids just like she does. I’ve been teaching or coaching since about the second grade, when I was given the opportunity to go to the kindergarten classes to help teach students to read.

Growing up, education and school came first, and my parents never wavered from that. I had amazing teachers who sparked my curiosity, but one teacher in particular stood out: my chemistry teacher. Thanks to her, I knew I wanted to be a science teacher. 

I’ve been given numerous opportunities to serve in leadership roles throughout high school, college, and my teaching career, and even though I don’t care for the spotlight, I’ve never shied away from serving. 

The Online School Experience at Tennessee Connections Academy

The most rewarding part of my job here is teaching some of the coolest kids I’ve ever met. I tell them as often as I can that they are the best part of what I get to do. Through this unique online platform, I have a better opportunity to truly get to know each of my students, their interests, quirks and, most important, their learning style.

Each of my students interacts differently and brings their own uniqueness to our team. Even though we have students from all different lifestyles with varying needs, they all have the opportunity to earn the education they deserve. Our program puts the tools in the hands of the students and their Learning Coaches, allowing them to mold this program to fit their lives. This creates a breeding ground for success without overly structured pressure.

It really is incredible sometimes to see students’ imaginations open up. You don’t always see that with middle schoolers. They really do lift each other up and encourage each other’s answers. As a teacher, it doesn’t get better than that.

Message for Families Considering Online School

Families thinking of enrolling a student at Tennessee Connections Academy should first decide what their needs are. This school is a good choice for students who like to be challenged, like flexibility in their learning, and will thrive learning at their own pace. 

It’s also great for students who want to be part of a caring community, want to develop relationships with teachers and students who live outside of their geographic area, or are busy with extracurricular activities and hobbies. 

“My hope has always been to make a difference in my students’ lives while trying to ignite their interest in learning and help them become who they were meant to be.”

— Ms. McDonnell