St. George's Today
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What do you hope to accomplish as an educator?
I want students to learn that they can do anything they want if they work hard at it. I want to show them their power and help them harness it for the greatest things – their dreams. I hope to help them develop an ethic for excellence, and I also want them to love the artist within.
What do you like best about your job?
The kids, of course! This is a school where children are treated with great respect and with kindness. We have a culture of kindness here at St. George’s that I love. Also, the teachers are extremely good at what they do, and we have very supportive and involved parents.
What do you think is the greatest challenge facing teachers?
To get students to a point of their best without treading on any of their dreams is the greatest challenge. Getting children to grow and do well takes lots of pruning – like nurturing roses. I have to make sure that any criticism is always constructive and packaged in such a way that they can really hear me and adhere to my advice.
Did you have any teaching inspiration? Who was it?
Yes, I have several. Let’s start with John K. Vargo of Shaker Heights High and Wilma Sueing who taught me the beauty of learning and writing, both inside and outside the box of rules. Then, I have Erma Clanton from the University of Memphis and Lulah Hedgeman from Overton High. These teachers are/were the breathing definition of excellence. As well, I have all these extraordinary teachers here at St. George’s and among them is my husband, Danny, who teaches [art] at the Collierville campus. He is a tremendous inspiration as he is fully dedicated to his students, yet true to himself and his art form. Above all, however, is my grandmother, Bennie Wilson. She was a high school teacher for more than 30 years in the city school system. She taught music, then opened her own performing arts school, and later taught at LeMoyne Owen College. She continues to demonstrate all the best qualities of any human being: wisdom, perseverance, and patience. She is incredible.
How long have you been a teacher?
Full time for several years. I have always taught, though. As a dancer, it’s what I did to serve the community and to pay for ballet classes. Once I made principal, it’s how I helped to keep the dance school going.
If you hadn’t become a teacher, what would you be?
What I am already – an artist.
Distance running, gardening, being outdoors, traveling, and I’m a food fanatic. I love to cook and eat. I can tell you where to find the best crab cakes or chocolate cake in the world.
Zora Neal Hurston, Thoreau, James Baldwin, Walter Mosley, and Jeffrey Eugenides. Really there is no limit to the athors I love.
What was your favorite subject in school?