Senior Chrishandra Perkins was always destined to teach. From an early age, her preacher called her “the teacher” as she read church announcements each Sunday.
“I always wanted to be a teacher because I love helping people,” said the middle grades education major. “I knew I didn’t want to work with younger kids, and the upper grades were not for me, so I settled on middle grades kind of by default.”
Once she started working closely with the pre-teens, she found that’s exactly where she belonged.
“Now I love working with middle grades. The students are independent, but they also still need you to help guide them.”
With her first job already lined up to teach 5th grade math at Lake Oconee Academy, Perkins’ goals extend beyond the classroom.
“I’d like to open up a school in the next five to 10 years,” she said. “I feel like in the classroom I can only impact the students I teach, but by starting a school, I can touch more lives by hiring multiple teachers to make a difference in more children’s lives.”
Named one of the 12 valedictorians for the spring commencement with a perfect 4.0 GPA, her experience in the education program prepared her for her first job and allowed her to dream big.
“I feel like we are better prepared because we get to spend so much time in the classroom with students. From the time we declare an education major, we have opportunities to work in the schools,” she said. “We’ve been able to implement lessons, mimic our host teachers, do so much in the classroom that students in other educations programs don’t get to do.”
Her undergraduate experience allowed her to not only grow professionally but personally as well.
“When I first came to college I was quiet, reserved and shy,” she said. “The education program pushed me to stop being shy. I met a lot of really great people and got really close with my mentor leader.”