teacher-smYou might be surprised to find posters of van Gogh’s “The Starry Night” and da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” in math teacher Alison Owens’s classroom. Art, music and videos are used in her geometry class to help find angles and symmetry. In this year’s new discrete math class, students are exploring probability, prime number theory and problem-solving.

“Better thinkers, harder workers and creating citizens of the world. That’s pretty much what I signed up for eight years ago as a math teacher at Lift for Life Academy,” she says.

It was the school’s mission that lured her away from Kirkwood High School. When she first started teaching here, she says it was a crazy atmosphere. The students hadn’t been trained to know that they were going to go to college.

But these days, it’s not a big deal for a student to wear a T-shirt with the slogan “I’m a Lift for Life Nerd” or to all but demand to take two math classes at a time.

At LFLA, Owens says she has the ability to change things if it feels like her students need to go in another direction. “It’s more than teaching math, it’s teaching life,” she says.