Global EngagementUC HomeAbout UCUC AcademicsUC AdmissionsUC AthleticsUC GlobalUC HealthUC LibrariesUC ResearchNews


Former Lawyer Now a Future Teacher

Lisa Ellis left the law, she says, to go back to her first love – high school English.

Date: 3/10/2008
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Dottie Stover
Lisa Ellis
Lisa Ellis, a CECH teaching intern at Glen Este High School.

Lisa Ellis earned her law degree from the University of Cincinnati and practiced in the areas of bankruptcy, real estate, probate and creditors’ rights for 15 years. She chose the University of Cincinnati again to pursue her second career. Ellis is in the teacher education master’s and licensure program in the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH). She will earn her teaching license (Ohio Adolescent to Young Adult Integrated English Language Arts teaching license) in June and is also working on her master’s degree in education.

Ellis is spending a year-long teaching internship at Glen Este High School, teaching 11th grade English, as part of UC’s partnership with West Clermont Schools. She serves as the teacher of record, teaching three classes and earning a stipend from the school district to support her tuition. She says she’s interested in teaching high school literature.

“I had thought about teaching before,” she says. “I remember reading Shakespeare to take a break from my studies in law school. I have a full-size Oxford English dictionary. I should be teaching English,” she says.

Lisa Ellis

She adds that she couldn’t think of anywhere else to pursue a career change than UC. “I live in Cincinnati. I know that UC is a fine university and I knew the teaching program was well respected, too,” she says. Ellis says her entire education was through the Ohio public school system, and that she’s interested in teaching in the public schools.

Chet Laine, UC associate professor of teacher education, adds that Ellis is an excellent student. She received an Educational Testing Service Recognition of Excellence Award, meaning she scored in the top 15 percent in the nation for both of the PRAXIS II examinations required of Ohio English teachers, “English Language, Literature and Composition,” and “Principles of Learning and Teaching.”

“To achieve this recognition is rare,” Laine says. “To receive this recognition in two areas is very rare.”

Lisa Ellis

Laine adds that Ellis certainly has her share of peers in her program in terms of nontraditional students coming back to UC to pursue a new career in teaching. “I can think of a Peace Corps volunteer, a Connecticut public radio program director, a former corporate vice president and a country-and-western disc jockey, and all of these individuals are currently teaching in the West Clermont Local School District,” Laine says.

Ellis says she doesn’t believe it’s ever too late to pursue a change that can turn out to be very fulfilling. “Why be unhappy for another 20-to-30 years just because of what you’re doing? My advice is, if you want to do it, do it. It will be hard, but you’ll find in yourself what you know and what you’ve learned and how valuable that is.”