Spark of Joy Attallah Alum Finds Dream Education Job at Disney
April 1, 2019
As Amanda Moore (IES ’17, MACI ’18) was pursuing her teaching credential at Chapman University, she didn’t know her soon-to-be classroom would be Disneyland.
“My plan throughout my time at Chapman was to become a classroom teacher,” said Amanda. “When I began at Disney, I just thought it would be a fun job to have in college.”
While working part time at Disneyland, just a few minutes from Chapman’s Orange campus, the recent Attallah College grad discovered Disney’s Youth Education Series. She was intrigued by the idea of using her teacher education training and skills within the iconic theme park.
The Disney Classroom
The Disney Youth Education Series is an interactive educational program that is held within the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts. Youth groups from elementary school classes to Girl Scouts to high school clubs can learn about the applications of engineering, music, dance, culinary arts, leadership, and other hands-on topics. The program sessions, which typically run about three hours, are held inside the Disney parks and embed the parks’ attractions and features into the curriculum.
Although her teaching work space is unconventional, Amanda still uses what she learned in Attallah College’s 4+1 MACI (Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction and undergraduate IES (Integrated Educational Studies) programs every day, especially classroom management.
“I have to be the most entertaining thing at Disneyland,” said Amanda, which is certainly a tall order in an amusement park. Amanda and the other program facilitators must be outgoing, confident, captivating presenters and have excellent public-speaking skills.
Amanda regularly teaches several Disney programs, including Approach to Leadership and Teamwork, Creating a Leadership Legacy, Marketing the Story of Your Visual Brand, and Music 101: The Soundtrack of Disneyland. She works with groups of all ages from all over the world. The most common age group for her topics is 5th through 12th grades, but programming is available to adults and other community groups as well. This past January, she even had the chance to host Chapman’s Attallah College professional development retreat for staff.
From Chapman to Disneyland
Amanda says she became more open minded, thoughtful, and creative during her time at Chapman, with the help of program staff and faculty who had confidence in her abilities and helped her cultivate her strengths.
“Not only did my coursework prepare me to be an educator, but I was prepared to be a leader,” said Amanda. “I was so lucky to have the opportunity to be a peer advisor for the
IES program and work with Administrative Coordinator Kelly McCuen. Kelly was my confidant, motivator, and biggest supporter. She made sure I never doubted myself and gave me so much confidence. I owe so much to her!”
Amanda plans on continuing her career within the Walt Disney Company, wherever the path may lead her. She was recently accepted to Brandman University’s MBA program through the Disney Aspire program, through which Disney sponsors its cast members to go to college.
Words of Advice
Amanda’s advice for current Chapman students looking to pursue community-based or other nontraditional jobs in education is to try everything, whether it’s an internship at the Discovery Science Center or the Blind Children’s Learning Center. Stick to what sparks joy.
“Have as many experiences as you can with different organizations because there are so many ways to educate and impact others,” said Amanda. “Chapman always has opportunities and resources to help you find organizations that interest you. Always do what brings you joy, and find what you are passionate about.”
Display Image at Top: Amanda Moore MACI ’18 and IES Program Administrative Coordinator Kelly McCuen in the Disneyland Entrance Plaza in Anaheim, Calif.