Mr. Trey Willis, 5th grade teacher at Believe Memphis Academy

Mr. Trey Willis, 5th grade teacher at Believe Memphis Academy

Question: Tell us about your background and how you found yourself in the world of teaching/education.

I was born in Memphis, TN. I grew up in North Memphis (Smokey City), where my mother and grandparents raised me. One thing that I noticed very early as a child, was how much my mother did not want me to go to school in our neighborhood. We lived down the street from an elementary school, but my mom would wake my sister and I up super early every day to drive us across town to attend a “better” school. As we got older, I watched my mom and aunt camp outside of the Board of Education for chance at a spot on the optional school transfer list. I remember thinking to myself, “All of this to go to a good school?” It didn’t seem right.

I’m grateful for all of the sacrifices that my mother made for me. The education that I received has given me many opportunities that I may or may not have received going to different schools. I never thought that I would become a teacher, but I am glad that I accepted the call. After graduating college, I heard about a program called Memphis Teacher Residency and began my journey into the classroom. As I learned about the literacy levels in Memphis my heart broke at the injustice, and I wanted to act. I don’t consider myself a hero or someone special for deciding to teach. I am just one of many educators striving to give our kids a different story by providing them the very best education possible, which is what every child deserves.


Question: What school are you currently at and what do you teach there?

I currently teach 5th grade Math at Believe Memphis Academy.


Question: How would you describe the students you teach? What are some descriptor words that come to mind and why those words?

I would describe my scholars as determined and steadfast. Whether it’s performing well on an exit ticket, playing rugby, or having the best chant at Community Celebration, our scholars are determined to give their all to achieve their goals. We have asked a lot of them this year, but they have remained steadfast. I am proud of who they are and who they are becoming.



Question: What is one thing you want people reading this to know about teachers?

We are more than teachers. We are artists, musicians, parents, athletes, bloggers, photographers, dancers, and the list goes on. We do more than teach. Our lives go beyond the school walls. It is a privilege to teach, but we are more.

Question: As a teacher, what is your long term goal for your students?

I want my scholars to chase their passions unrelentingly and be prepared academically, socially, and emotionally to be able to flourish within society.


Question: What does Trey Willis like to do outside of the classroom?

As I stated earlier, I am more than a teacher. In my spare time I like to play basketball, write songs, make beats, run, and read. I also hope to release some songs on iTunes one day. I have a hard drive full of material, so hold me to it!