2018 Tillman Scholar

Maisha Rounds

Military Spouse
Vanderbilt University

“Education is the mother of all professions. She breathes life into society, possessing the power to change the world.”

Fantasy clashed hard with reality when Maisha Rounds’ husband deployed to Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2009. She faced the challenges of raising their children alone while struggling to restore their home which was devastated by a flood. Then, her professional world turned upside down. Maisha taught in an urban Title I school that went through four principals in one year, destabilizing the school’s equilibrium. Maisha committed to providing a safe space for her students despite the upheaval around them. She transformed challenges into triumphs, modeling for students that they could survive and thrive in spite of unsteady circumstances. During this time, her reach extended beyond her classroom of fifteen to over 40,000 students as the Charleston County Teacher of the Year and State Teacher of the Year Nominee. She catalyzed a cadre of 3,500 teachers and 100 principals to close achievement gaps in the second largest district in South Carolina.

Passionate about school turnaround, Maisha aspires to convert corridors of shame into oases of opportunity for marginalized and disenfranchised students in the American Pre-K – 12 sector as a Principal and Superintendent. Ms. Rounds is National Board Certified, holds two degrees in education from Winthrop University and her Ed.M. in School Leadership from Harvard Graduate School of Education. She will pursue her doctorate in Educational Leadership at Vanderbilt University.

A proud Army wife and mother of four, Maisha Rounds strengthens communities and inspires change. She prioritizes work/life balance by playing the piano, swimming, rollerblading, being active in her church, and spending time with family.