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Shardee Petties

This pirate educator has a heart for working with children with special needs.

Petties PortraitFrom the time Shardee Petties was a young girl in Winston-Salem, NC she knew she wanted to work with individuals with special needs. "It has always been a dream of mine to work with individuals with disabilities" she shared. Now as a sophomore in the College of Education's Special-Education-Adapted Curriculum program, Petties' dream is becoming a reality. "My favorite class since being at ECU has been SPED 2200 [Introduction to Students with Disabilities in the Adapted Curriculum", she says. In this class Petties learned about different categories of disabilities, teaching strategies when working with students with disabilities, and curriculum standards teachers must follow.

Petties' enthusiasm for teaching was fostered by her middle school orchestra teacher, Mrs. Margaret Rehder. "Mrs. Rehder was my most influential teacher growing up," shared Petties. "She pushed me to try new things, she encouraged me to practice more, and urged me to audition more." Petties has played violin for many years and credits Mrs. Rehder for believe in her talents and inspiring her to believe in herself.

And Petties plans on inspiring her future students to believe in their talents. "I love watching students learn new concepts" she says. "When you can actually see them understanding what you are teaching it is the best."

Petties has advice for incoming freshmen majoring in Special Education. "Get used to reading," she says with a laugh, "sophomore year has so much more reading than freshman year." Learning to balance school work with spending time with friends is another area where Petties has advice for new students, "socializing is good but you have to remember that your focus should be on school" she shares. Well said, Shardee, well said!