Instructor, Sandhills Community College, Pinehurst, NC
Kimberly Fielder-Jones graduated from Union Pines High School. She always dreamed of becoming an actress and studied theatre at Valdosta State University. During that time, she also worked in professional theatre.
“I was really doing my thing when I got a call from my mother who told me that she didn’t want to interrupt my life, but that she could really use my help,” Fielder-Jones said. Her mother had delivered a very premature daughter who was born blind.
“I looked at my life,” she explained, “and even though I was doing something that I very much enjoyed, I realized that theatre wasn’t going to be very lucrative. I packed up and came back home. My sister became my new direction in life.”
Fielder-Jones knew if she was going to help care for her sister she needed formal education. “I immediately turned to Sandhills and enrolled in the Early Childhood Education program. I also took correspondence courses to learn Braille.”
“One of my instructors felt that this was my calling,” she reflected. “She saw things in me I didn’t see. She taught me the importance of patience and listening.”
After Sandhills, Fielder-Jones attended UNC-Pembroke and earned a bachelor’s degree in Special Education. She worked for Moore County Schools with visually-impaired students for 10 years.
Several years ago Felder- Jones’ daughter was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a high-functioning form of autism. “All that I could think was, ‘What mother would be better equipped to care for this special child?’ ” she recalled.
Fielder-Jones wakes up every day loving her career. “I have returned to Sandhills and now teach future educators,” she said. “I touch even more lives. I tell my students that I started right where they are – in fact, in the very same classroom.”
Sandhills Community College prepares individuals to work with children from infancy through middle childhood in diverse learning environments. An Associate in Applied Science in Early Childhood and four certificate programs are offered.
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