PPS staff member achieves dream of becoming teacher

Tamika Causley signs her "Letter of Commitment" to become a PPS Teacher.
Tamika Causley signs her "Letter of Commitment" to become a PPS Teacher.(Peoria Public Schools District 150 - Facebook)
Published: Mar. 15, 2022 at 6:10 PM CDT
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PEORIA (25 NEWS) - A longtime Peoria Public Schools employee is seeing her dream of becoming a teacher come true.

After years working in various positions at PPS, Tamika Causley will become a PPS teacher next Fall, after making a strong impact on her coworkers and her bosses over the last eight years.

Since 2014, she has worked as a substitute clerk, in the curriculum department and in district communications, among other roles. During her time at PPS, she’s had one main goal.

“I need to be a teacher,” Causley said. “This is what I need to do.”

Tamika was raised by a single mother and spent a decade in the Navy before moving to Peoria. She became a cosmetologist for two years before joining Peoria Public Schools for the first time.

While working at PPS, she went back to school, first receiving her bachelor’s degree. Now, she is working on her master’s degree in Special Education from Western Illinois University, all while raising four children, ranging in age from two to 16, with her husband, a PPS social worker.

Last week, the district “rehired” her, throwing a surprise party to tell her the news and presenting her with a “Letter of Commitment” to teach next Fall.

“I felt totally emotional and special,” Causley said of the gesture. “To see everybody care so much like ‘no this is a big deal’ is so heartwarming.”

Superintendent Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat praised Causley as a hard-worker, with the ability to connect with anyone she meets, including handling phone calls with parents.

“She was able to work with any parent,” Kherat said. “It was really amazing to see. She is really loved around here.”

Causley says she is excited to get to work next Fall, although she does not know yet what age group she will be teaching.

“That’s my heart,” Causley said. “So anywhere they need me for special education from kindergarten to age 21, I’m qualified to do [it].”

As for her teaching philosophy, Causley says she wants to be present for her students and use her past experiences from the military, PPS and raising her own kids to help her students grow.

“I want to advocate for those kids, those parents,” Causley said. “Everyone has that teacher that inspires them. If I can do that for a handful, I fulfill my purpose I think... Keeping our family together and showing our children that is the best part.”

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