From her younger years of eating dinner in her mother’s classroom to her new role as assistant superintendent for Rome City Schools, Brittney Wilson has spent just about her entire life in a school.
However, her career in education may have never come to be had it not been for a job offer to teach math in Gordon County around 16 years ago.
At the time, Wilson had recently graduated and was substituting while she was looking for jobs. The jobs she was looking for pertained to her education in business administration, finance and economics, fields she earned her bachelor’s degree in.
Teaching was just a job at first, Wilson said, but before long she realized this could be her career. She taught in Gordon County Schools until 2010, moving from math to business education to special education. It was the most rewarding part of her career because she could witness the direct impact she was having on students’ lives.
While she was teaching, Wilson went on to get her master’s degree in business education, followed by a doctorate in workforce education and leadership.
This paved the way for her wish to move up to an administrative position, as she left Gordon County Schools for Calhoun City Schools.
Wilson spoke of the challenge of moving to a leadership role from the “peer to peer” position she had as a teacher, and the change allowed for her to explore how different school systems operate.
While at Calhoun City, Wilson served as the director of the CTAE — Career, Technical and Agriculture Education — program, as well as an assistant principal at the high school from 2010 to 2013. She then moved to become the chief academic officer for the system for two years before taking over as the chief executive officer for the Calhoun College and Career Academy for two years.
Wilson is about three weeks into her new position, and though she said she is not getting overwhelmed, she is learning something new every day. She is Rome City’s first assistant superintendent in about five years, and she expressed excitement at her responsibility of continuing to improve the school system and the challenges therein.
Wilson shared her perspective on the roles of those in education: There are only teachers and those who support teachers. Since she has been in both roles, she said she carries in her mind as an administrator a high regard for educators.
Superintendent Lou Byars said at the time of Wilson’s hiring back in May, she provides a deep understanding of what it takes to get a CCA up and running and how to make it effective in its preparation of students for life after high school.
Part of Rome City’s proposed projects to be funded under an extension of a 1-cent education local option sales tax, if voters pass the referendum in the November election, is the construction of a new building at the high school for a CCA, which would allow for the expansion of career pathways.
Wilson said the aged expectation of a two-track pathway of students either being prepared for a technical field or a college education no longer applies. Students now need both the exposure to career pathways and academic rigor, regardless of where they plan to go after high school.
And at the end of the day, Wilson said, it’s all about the one goal of getting former students employed no matter if they have a certificate or a doctorate degree.
For some, a CCA can offer up an exploration into what students may be passionate about, but it can also lead to revelations about what’s not their passion, as was the case for Wilson’s daughter, she said.
Wilson’s 21-year-old daughter — she also has a 10-year-old son — had the experience in high school to do an internship at a local hospital, after she completed a nursing pathway. The first time she walked into the operating room she passed out, Wilson said.
Her daughter was told that’s often the case for first-timers, so she decided to give it another shot. But the second try didn’t change the result, as she fainted once more. Wilson’s daughter now attends the University of Georgia, where she is studying agricultural communication.
And, perhaps like her mother, she will discover her unplanned passion.