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Wendy Howell

Motlow 2+2 Program opens path to teaching career for Wendy Howell

Tullahoma's Wendy Howell took advantage of the 2+2 Program offered at Motlow College to those who want to enter the teaching profession and has quickly gone from first-year teacher to candidate for Tennessee Teacher of the Year.

The 2+2 Program in Elementary Education (K-6) is offered at Motlow in partnership with Tennessee Technological University. The program allows students to earn a bachelor's degree in elementary education from TTU while attending classes at either the Moore County campus or the McMinnville Center.

It wasn't until Howell was in her mid-30s that she made the decision to return to school and pursue her longtime dream of becoming a teacher.

"I had started college when I was 18, but I wasn't ready to take it seriously," Howell said. "So I decided to enter the workforce and take on a full time job until I was ready to really focus on school."

Howell made the choice of Motlow College and began taking classes at the Moore County campus. Although going back to school was intimidating, Howell said she was surprised at how much she remembered.

"Once I got in there and began classes, I saw that everyone really was the same," she said. "Everyone was as nice and helpful to me as I was to them. We were all in the same boat, and no matter our age, we were all Motlow students."

To pursue her dream of becoming a teacher, Howell became involved with the 2+2 Program.

"The 2+2 Program is designed to allow students to remain in the local area while doing assignments that allow them to interact with local schools from very early in their studies," said Charle Coffey, director of the Department of Education at Motlow. "It is a partnership that works for the college, university, and local schools. More importantly, it works for students by providing a viable pathway for them to reach their goal of becoming a teacher."

"I liked the program," Howell explained. "I liked that we went to school with the same group of people all of the time. It allowed for us to create friendships and create a support system while we were pursuing our degrees. Many of the friendships I made during that time, I still have today."

Howell added that the program is "flexible and prepares students for the real world of teaching."

In 2006, Howell completed the program and acquired a teaching position at Bel-Aire Elementary School in Tullahoma, where she teaches the fourth grade. She was recently named Bel-Aire's Teacher of the Year.

Howell was also named by fellow educators from outside the school district as a South-Central Tennessee Regional Teacher of the Year and is competing against nine other educators for Grand Division Teacher of the Year - a step away from the state's highest honor in the competition.

"Wendy was an outstanding student, and we commend her on her accomplishments and her dedication to teaching," said Coffey.