At the age of 26, Inez Tiger had been a 3rd grade teacher and administrator at a school in Koreatown, and found herself at a crossroads with her career path. The 1992 Los Angeles riots were happening and there was a major outbreak of violence, looting, and arson due to racial tensions between the LAPD and the city's African Americans. The racial tensions in LA triggered a lot of fears she experienced while growing up in South Africa. The school had to close because of the riots and it made her wonder if it was time to quit and go and be with her tribe. It sounded a bit insular but if she could affect change with her own people that might make her feel safer and be more affective.
That year Inez learned about a job opportunity at Pressman Academy. Dr. David Ackerman had been the head of school at that time, and she got a job as a 3rd grade teacher. She worked as a 3rd grade teacher for 10 years and found herself counseling the parents, which she loved. While still teaching, she decided to go back to school to become a therapist and get her MFT. As a part of her practicum she was counseling middle school students and loved the age group, and ended up bringing a life skills program and council to Pressman. Another position opened at Pressman as a middle school counselor, and Inez took the job and left the 3rd grade. She became a therapist and started to see clients as well, but stopped when she became a mom.
After 10 years as a counselor, another opportunity presented itself when she became the interim middle school principal, which ended up evolving into a 5 year position. As principal, she was managing people and realized she preferred coaching, and so she approached Dr. Erica Rothblum, Pressman's current head of school, and said while she very much appreciated this position she felt her skills in counseling and coaching would be far more effective for the school. Dr. Rothblum had already been thinking about restructuring and Inez wanted to be part of the team as the Director of Wellness. This allowed her to supervise the counselors, bring a comprehensive SEL curriculum, teach, coach, facilitate parent councils and much more. She is coming up on her 3rd year in this position.
One of the reasons she loves Pressman is their openness and willingness to evolve and she feels very supported to innovate and iterate. She feels exceptionally lucky to be part of this warm and caring community.
In regards to life skills, Inez believes in mastering the soft skills of life: teamwork, communication skills, problem solving, work ethic, flexibility/adaptability and interpersonal skills. Becoming the CEO of your own wellness is key, especially in today's world and climate. She strives to find balance and growth in the realms of the social, physical, emotional, environmental, financial, occupational and spiritual.
One of her favorite quotes that drives her work is from Viktor E Frankl: Between stimulus and response there is space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. Speaking of self-regulation and the current state with the Coronavirus, Inez has provided these important wellness tips for dealing with trauma. Please click HERE to access.