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Mandy Case -
Paige Norman -
My story begans on December 2, 1963 in Atlanta, GA. I came into this world with a head full of strawberry blonde hair and blue eyes, weighing 7 lbs, 6 oz. My father worked in the poultry industry and my mother was a 2nd grade teacher. That year, she had a class with a cute set of twins named Lisa and Page Wiley. Why do I mention these twins, you ask? I mention this because I was named after Lisa and Page. However, my mom decided to add the “i” to Page to be a little different.
Now, fast forward to my High School years. In addition to my mother, there were several teachers who influenced my decision to become a teacher. There was Mr. Dampier, my Psychology teacher, who instilled in me, a passion for working with children and the psychology of it all. Mrs. Jones, my math teacher, who never gave up on me even though I had a fear of math. And there was Mr. Davis, my band teacher, who taught me the meaning of working hard to achieve my goals. These three teachers, along with my mother, were instrumental in guiding me to the career I have now been in for over 25 years.
After my high school graduation in 1982, I enrolled at West Georgia College in Carrollton, GA to pursue a degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Psychology. However, after I had been advised to take the psychology classes, I was told Education majors could not have a minor in Psychology. Even though taking a year’s worth of psychology classes seemed like a waste, I considered them an asset to my future as an educator.
In 1986, I still had some classes to take to finish my degree, so I moved back home to San Antonio, FL and continued taking courses at the University of South Florida. I graduated December of 1988 with a degree in Early Childhood Education. It was now time to look for a job. I looked and looked for an elementary position but did not find anything. Elementary positions were few and far between, I was told. Then, on my quest to find that elusive elementary position, I was asked if I would consider taking a special education class. Well, I was at a point that I could not be picky so I said yes. And the rest is history!
I took the special needs position and have been in special education ever since. I love working with students with disabilities. Yes, it was a challenge, but it was a wonderful and fulfilling challenge. I did not want to teach in the general education setting after I had my first years’ experience with special education. And after that first year, I moved to Georgia, got a position in Newnan, GA and have been in Georgia ever since teaching across grade levels up to 8th grade.
Oh, and remember when I said I had a fear of math? Well, I finally conquered that fear and received a Master of Education in Math Education from the University of Georgia! Go Dawgs!
So, over the years, I have learned much from working with special needs students. Even after 26 years, I know there is still much more to learn and I look forward to gaining more knowledge so I can inspire these children to learn.