DCPS educator shares African roots, finds calling

May 7, 2019 | 3:20 am

Updated May 7, 2019 | 6:50 am

Elaine Maku Dowuona-Annan believes she has found her calling at Meadow Lands Elementary School. | Photo by Ashley Sorce

A Daviess County resident for the past 15 plus years, Elaine Maku Dowuona-Annan never set out to be in the education field. In fact, she wanted to be a nurse instead.

Originally from a village in Ghana, located in West Africa, Brescia University brought her husband to Kentucky in the late 1980s. Mrs. Maku, as her students now lovingly call her, followed suit and joined him here some years later.

Bringing “joy” to all she encounters, she believes she has finally found her purpose since joining the staff at Meadow Lands Elementary.

Originally from a village in Ghana, located in West Africa, Brescia University brought her husband to Kentucky in the late 1980s. | Photo by Ashley Sorce

“I always wanted to be a nurse, that’s all I ever really wanted to do,” Maku said. “I attended nursing school for several years, obtained my CNA, medical tech and phlebotomist certifications and worked at the hospital and nursing home.”

Maku reflects that, although she felt certain the medical field was her destiny at one point, she indeed has found her “calling” within an elementary school setting.

She credits the encouragement of a close friend, for giving her the courage to apply for a job within Daviess County Public Schools.

“Gloria Shepherd, the school nurse at Meadow Lands actually helped me apply and encouraged me to go into the school system after seeing me interact with children at church,” Maku said.

The rest was fate.

Serving as an instructional assistant for first and second grades, Mrs. Maku works diligently to ensure her students achieve as much success as possible. She works daily in the computer lab, assists with phonics education and helps monitor small groups within different classrooms.

What sets Mrs. Maku apart from other instructional assistants is the rich cultural influence she brings to Meadow Lands Elementary every day.

Coming from a large family, Maku praises her upbringing often and shares with her students and co-workers about life in Ghana.

“I look forward to coming to work each day,” Maku said. “I want my students to realize how blessed they are, regardless of what background they come from. We can all learn from one another.”

Using words like empathy, compassion and grace, Mrs. Maku describes what she hopes to instill in every child she comes into contact with.

“I believe that God has a plan for all of us,” Maku said. “Sometimes that looks different than what we may have anticipated. I pray for my students. I invest in them. They bring me such happiness and peace.”

Her unique presence within Meadow Lands has made quite the impact on students and staff alike. Counting her “blessings,” Mrs. Maku firmly believes in divine intervention.

“God puts us where he wants us,” Maku said. “I am exactly where I am supposed to be, I have never doubted that. My Meadow Lands family has been so supportive and kind to me, I belong here.”

When asked about the future, Mrs. Maku has aspirations to obtain additional training in Special Education, as her heart leads.

“I try to put myself in their shoes, the students,” Maku said. “When I come face to face with these kids, I am confronting myself in so many of these situations. I try to envision what they may be going through, and relate it to something similar I’ve been through.”

As to her place in public school, Maku is quick to add she believes she is at the very best location for her. She notes her profession has little to do with money, and more to do with happiness and self-worth.

“I wouldn’t trade schools for anything,” Maku said. “This is my home. This is where I’m needed. This is where I will serve as long as I’m able. It’s taken me a long time to find myself, and I’ve found such joy. I give God all the glory!”

May 7, 2019 | 3:20 am

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