Editor's note: This is the third in a series of three question-and-answer sessions with former University Student Government presidents from as far back as 1994. The Red & Black checks in after their terms were up to see how serving as SGA president affected their careers.
Josh Delaney served as Student Government Association president during academic year 2010 to 2011. He now works for Teach for America in Atlanta as a special education and ninth grade algebra teacher at Cross Keys High School.
The Red & Black: Did you like being SGA president?
Delaney: I loved a lot of the job. There were parts of the job that were extremely challenging, but in hindsight I see the value in it. I loved almost all of my job, and the part that I didn’t love at the time I appreciate. Well, at the time I just felt like this was a good opportunity to do [Teach for America]. I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do. My majors didn’t quite align with what my college experience was. SGA really opened my eyes to policy and advocacy and working through systems to serve others. When TFA tried to recruit me, I though it would be a cool thing to do to pay it forward. That was the beginning of it. After a year of teaching, it shifted my life path.
The Red & Black: What made you want to join TFA?
Delaney: I guess I could not have imagined the experience that I have had while I was still at UGA. I thought it was getting into this temporary opportunity to serve for a few years and get really marketable résumé line, but over the past year working in the classroom with my students, I’ve really decided that this is my place: education reform. It is kind of the perfect place for the talents and skills I was honing while I was in office. All of these things are why I really enjoyed my time in office ... I’ve realized education reform is the perfect place to use those skills.
The Red & Black: Education reform?
Delaney: Students in low-income environments deserve the same education that their affluent peers get. A lot of times, that is not the case. Based on the community you’re in, you will see a vastly different learning environment. It’s not right. It’s not just. I really want to dedicate my life to proving that all kids can achieve and do amazing things and pull themselves out of poverty through education. I want to help create educational opportunities that allow that.
The Red & Black: What are your plans for the future?
Delaney: Well, I intend to go back to grad school and get a master’s in public policy or public [administration] with a focus on education policy. Education policy needs a lot of work and needs a lot of insight from people who have been with kids in low-income environments. I would be in education policy, specifically K-12 education policy. That could manifest itself in a lot of different ways. That could be working for a non-profit to build up opportunities or the department of education or a school board. Just following my heart and following the need.