Danae Gaines Acker Says Tri-County Degree Had Biggest Influence on Her Both Personally and Professionally
CONTACT: LISA GARRETT, firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 10/18/2018
(By Lisa Garrett)
ANDERSON --- When talking about college and career readiness to her students at Robert Anderson Middle School, Danae Gaines Acker reflects on her educational and professional journey -- to emphasize how varied experiences can lead to continuous learning.
“All of my experiences led me to the classroom,” said Acker, a 2007 Tri-County Technical College Media Arts Production graduate who teaches Technology to sixth, seventh and eighth graders.
From the time she was their age, she wanted to be a dance teacher. After graduating from Belton-Honea Path High School, she went to Columbia College on a partial scholarship and majored in education with a dance emphasis. “Dance had been a big part of my life but my freshman year I realized I didn’t want to make a career of it,” said Acker.
While contemplating her choices, she remembered John Woodson (Media Arts Production Program Director) coming to her video production class at the Anderson Career Center 1 and 2 and giving a presentation about the varied careers in multimedia.
“He talked about the professors who were also professionals in their field. That stuck with me,” she remembers. She moved home and enrolled in the Media Arts Production program the next semester and immersed herself in student life by serving as a student ambassador, president of the Minority Student Association, a member of the Alpha Zeta Beta honor society and singing the National Anthem at College events.
“I took advantage of everything Tri-County had to offer. Thanks to mentors, she says, “I also discovered leadership qualities I didn’t know I had. I learned things inside and outside the classroom. Tri-County changed my life.”
After graduating, she worked as the marketing assistant for Haywood Mall and later enrolled in Strayer University’s business administration/marketing program. After earning her bachelor’s degree, she worked at Brown Mackie College as assistant director of admissions.
Several years passed and she took a break to get married and start her family. She decided re-visit her desire to teach and entered the PACE program, or the Program of Alternative Certification for Educators, established to enable degreed individuals, who otherwise do not meet certification requirements, to gain employment in the public schools in a PACE-approved subject area teaching position.
For the past three years she has been a Technology teacher at Robert Anderson Middle School. She also teaches yearbook and journalism classes, drawing on her Tri-County experience in the MAP program. “We create the yearbook, newscasts and interviews and post them on our website,” she said.
A master’s degree always was her goal after high school -- last year she began pursuing a master of education in Instructional Technology at Strayer University.
But she says the Tri-County degree had the biggest influence on her both personally and professionally.
“I proudly display my Tri-County diploma in my College Corner in my classroom,” Acker said. “I can change the face of education in my classroom by telling my own story. We spend a lot of time on reflection in class. I’ve talked to my students about my career changes. They like that. It makes me relatable. I’m honest and open with them. Sometimes you have a plan and it doesn’t work. And that’s okay. It’s what you do afterward that matters.”