Taylor Tartera (’13, MAT ’14)
Taylor Tartera was a very active student during his four years at CBU, serving as a President’s Ambassador, Peer Counselor, Compass committee member, VP of Senate for Student Government, and as treasurer and president of Kappa Sigma fraternity. He was a member of the Alpha Chi and Sigma Tau Delta honor societies, and as a senior English for Corporate Communications major, he interned with the Shelby County Circuit Court. He was selected as a member of the Lasallian Fellows Class of 2013.
Taylor graduated summa cum laude, delivered the student address at Commencement, and was the recipient of the Brother Louis Althaus Circle, which recognized recognize graduating seniors deemed as tangible examples of the Lasallian ideal, and the Thomas Lipsmeyer Award, which is presented annually to the graduate considered by fellow classmates as the student who has most actively contributed to the senior class and to the University.
Upon graduation, Taylor began teaching at Grizzlies Prep Charter School and enrolled in the MAT program at CBU (which he completed in December 2014). After teaching middle school for five years, he moved out of the classroom to coach teachers in math and science as the Assistant Director of Curriculum and Instruction. When the school added a 5th-grade section, he was promoted to Lower School Dean. While teaching at Grizzlies Prep, Taylor enrolled in the doctoral program at the University of Memphis and began work on his EdD in Leadership and Policy in 2020. Taylor was hired as Assistant Principal at Altruria Elementary School in Bartlett, where has currently serves 750+ students.
During his doctoral studies, Taylor has concentrated on educational leadership and policy, and his thesis focuses specifically on critical race theory with an emphasis on school funding. He had a paper accepted at the International School Choice and Reform Conference and presented in Lisbon, Portugal. He has a strong passion for speaking up out about educating others around societal issues such as continued oppression and how it impacts education. During his teaching career, he has pushed for social justice through classroom teaching and through culture norming for his students and teachers. Taylor has continued to build relationships with his students and their families and prides himself on ensuring he is part of the solution and not part of the problem.
Outside of carrying on the Lasallian mission in his career, Taylor also volunteers as a youth advisor at St. Louis Catholic Church, working alongside the senior high youth ministry program. Through the youth group, he also regularly volunteers for multiple church events. He has also served as the Alumni Advisor for Kappa Sigma at CBU.
“Besides the incredible professors that felt more like family, my favorite memory from CBU was the opportunity to study abroad in Barcelona, Spain,” Taylor says. “This trip was my first experience out of the country, and it was truly amazing to connect what we had learned in the classroom to the real deal. It is a memory that I will never forget!”
Taylor also proposed to his wife, Melody Caldwell Tartera (’14), in Buckman Quadrangle while both were students in the MAT program. They married in 2015 and welcomed their first daughter, Ellis, in November 2021. His youngest sister, Caraline Tartera, just got accepted to CBU and will be following in his footsteps this coming fall.
Across the buildings on campus, there is the statement, ‘Enter to learn. Leave to serve.’ While this is a constant reminder to students, it is a statement that has stuck with me in my professional life. CBU instilled the mindset of a lifelong learner in me; for every job opportunity that has come before me, I always entered to learn. As an educator and administrator, I left CBU knowing I would always strive to serve my community.