Education Matters: Little Rock woman finds new calling as teacher

Education

Education Matters: Little Rock woman finds new calling as teacher

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A local woman who spent decades in one profession has found new work…in the classroom.

The road getting there was unexpected, but Ola Perry soon realized it was her calling.

“We teach them all the time, but there are so many other times we forget that they have things to offer too,” says Ola Perry, who now teaches special education.

Perry is the newest special education teacher at Don Roberts Elementary in Little Rock.

She’s not new around campus. Mrs. Perry has spent the last several years as a paraprofessional.

“It became the biggest thing in my life,” she says.

Perry had just retired, spending 25 years in Human Resources, but a friend needed some help in the classroom. Having two grandchildren with special needs, Perry realized this is where she wanted to be.

“That’s the most important thing. Getting into the mind of this child because you don’t know how they left home. You don’t know what kind of family environment they came from,” says Perry.

Educators saw a spark in this paraprofessional. They encouraged her to be a teacher. Perry went back to school to work toward a Masters of Arts in Teaching Special Education. She passed the required tests, and is now a full-time teacher.

“I said, ‘Look how old I am, what am I doing starting all over again? What is this about, I’ve already had my time.’ And he said, “You know what?’ He said, ‘Your career is what you paid for, but your calling is what you’re created for,” she explains.

At 60 years old, Perry is proud to say she has found her calling.

She has six classes left to complete her Master’s Degree and has a 4.0 GPA.

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