Q: How did you start your teaching career?
A: I have been with Rutherford County School System, in Riverdale, for 33 years. So I started in special education and then about three years ago I moved into counseling and I’m the school registrar. Right now, I’m doing all the registrations, withdrawals, and helping students prepare paperwork for colleges. I help them make that transition and send transcripts, give them scholarship information…basically anything I can do to help them prepare for college.
Q: What makes Riverdale students unique to work with?
A: I have been here a long time. It’s my fourth principal since I’ve been here and the traditions in Riverdale, I mean, it’s a family. You know? Whatever anyone needs, everyone will rise to the occasion and do whatever they can to help. Be it professional, be it personal. We all support each other, support each other and take care of each other. The school spirit here is phenomenal. We have good students here. I mostly saw this when I started to see how students reacted and interacted with our children in special education. It was just something unique and special where they were trying to make them part of the whole school and part of the whole student body. Thus, the family atmosphere that we have here is special.
Q: Why is it important to work with children?
A: I think we all have a responsibility. If we work in education, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to help these students reach their full potential, because it’s not about us, it’s about them. So whatever I can do, no matter what it is, I want to help them reach their full potential. I’m willing to do this because there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing what happens to them after they leave here. To be able to say that I just had a small part in it is incredible.
Q: How was the transition from special education to consulting?
A: It wasn’t a drastic change because there was a lot of paperwork then and there is a lot now. You know, I go a little further now because the groups of students I work with are large. So I’m starting to form a lot of relationships with a lot of different students. I also sponsor the Riverdale Gospel Ensemble and have sponsored one of the dance groups here. I worked with Ms. Watkins who was chair of the special education department. I tried to help athletes get scholarships by working with coaches. I had a lot of interactions before, but now, like I said, it’s a bigger thing.
Q: What are your passions outside of education?
A: I am very involved in the church and volunteering. I work a lot with an after school program at the McFadden Community Center where a lot of the kids are inner city kids. I help them with their homework, we offer them activities and take them to places they haven’t been. Many of these children have not left their community. So we try to expose them to life beyond that.
Q: Do you have any volunteer opportunities that you would recommend to community members?
A: Well, any community center can use volunteers. My passion is to help children. So most of the work I do is still in the area of promoting children’s lives. I strongly recommend these types of activities, and community centers can always call on volunteers.
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