Velvet McReynolds has been teaching for 30 years. Following graduation from UCLA, Velvet spent 20 years teaching middle school language arts in Los Angeles County's Lennox School District. While in California, Velvet served as a peer coach and mentor, specializing in portfolio assessment, and as president of the Lennox Teachers Association. She was named Teacher of the Year for the Lennox School District in 1989. Velvet earned her master's degree in curriculum development at California State University at Dominguez Hills. Since the early 1990s, she has taught in Hoover, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham. She continues to serve in a mentorship role and facilitates workshops on portfolio assessment, multi-culture in language arts, and authentic writing. She earned National Board Certification in 1997, and she mentors current NBC candidates through the University of Alabama's Department for Teaching Excellence.