Sharkethia Johnson is on a mission to make a difference in the world, one child at a time.
Johnson is an elementary and special education graduate student, working towards her master’s degree. She is committed to using education as a way to empower every young person. She graduated from FVSU with her undergraduate degree and became a teacher because she was determined to give back. Now she’s back to develop the advanced skills she believes will help her maximize her impact on the young people who need her guidance.
“I did it to reach back and help students who are in need and the students who have struggled,” she said. “Most of those students are overlooked or pushed to the side. I feel like I can reach those students, who may come from families with low incomes or things of that nature.”
She likes the research component of graduate study, using data to find the root causes of problems and to engineer solutions which will really make a difference. It has been more demanding than undergraduate study, she says, but in a manner that is helping her grow as a professional and be more impactful as an educator.
“It is more challenging, but it’s more hands-on,” she explained. “You really have to think logically and critically.”
She is immediately applying what she is learning in her role as a fourth-grade teacher at Bernd Elementary School in Macon, GA, already rethinking curricular strategy and changing her approach to working with some students. Her current full-time teaching role isn’t her first experience leading a classroom, however. She feels that FVSU prepared her well while she earned her undergraduate degree in education by making sure that they spent years in the field doing student teaching, developing lesson plans, learning how to relate to children, and participating in summer camps. Even while immersed in her academic experience, she found time to be a cheerleader, was a Valley Girl athletic supporter, and worked with the TRIO programs. She’s been honored as a scholar on multiple occasions. Coming from a small town, Johnson felt that FVSU would give her the support she needed to grow into a professional. After four years of college and being hired as a full-time teacher, she chose to come back to FVSU to further her education for the same reasons.
“I love the people and the staff,” she said. “If they can help you they will. I really feel at home.”