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Five Questions: Jonesborough Elementary instructor inspired by father to become educator

Brandon Paykamian • Dec 8, 2018 at 6:00 PM

Jerri Blanton, a third-grade English and social studies instructor at Jonesborough Elementary School, says educating others is just something that runs in her family.

Last week, the East Tennessee State University and Tusculum University alumna emailed the Johnson City Press to tell readers a bit more about herself, what led her to teach and her favorite aspects of teaching within the Washington County Schools district.

Blanton Briefly:

Dogs or cats: Dogs

Favorite food: Steak

Favorite TV shows and movies: The Resident and 911 Movies; Harry Potter series

Pet Peeves: “People that are afraid to be themselves.”

Hobbies: Reading and traveling

Favorite book and author: “An Angel for Solomon Singer” by Cynthia Rylant

What led you to teach? 

I attended East Tennessee State University for my undergraduate degree in 2003 and Tusculum College for my masters in 2010. My dad, James French, taught high school, and his dedication to education helped inspire me to pursue my desire to be an educator.

What special qualities do you think folks working in education need to have to be successful?

The special qualities I feel all educators need to possess are compassion, patience, determination and enthusiasm. These characteristics are a must to be successful in most areas of education.

What do you think makes the Washington County Schools district unique?

Our county has an emphasis on rigorous curriculum that will prepare our students for continued success. Technology in the classroom is another big focus. I have always had an interest in technology and Washington County has helped me incorporate so many aspects of technology into my classroom that will ensure students’ success in their future endeavors. Washington County is also unique in the way that the people over our school system are approachable and acceptable to suggestions and ideas pertaining to the needs of our students.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing schools today?

I feel most inhibited as an educator when parental support of a child's education is not a priority. Especially when the child has a desire for learning.

Who inspires you most in life and in your career?

My daughter, Isabella Blanton, inspires me to always do my best and to try and always set a positive example for her. My job drives me every day to continue learning as an educator, and be open to new ideas, strategies and approaches in my teaching.

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