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My biography would be incomplete if I didn't begin with my life before teaching. I am a 60 year old widow who did not begin my teaching career until I was 41 years old. Before that, I was married and in Atlanta as a professional stage actor with big plans for an even larger career. I was perfectly content living with my husband and acting, when he got a job with Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King Jr.'s widow.

This was life-changing for both of us. My husband was a valued employee at the Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change for the five years before his death. The experience of getting to know Mrs. King and her family, particularly Yolanda King, as well as many of the great Civil Rights leaders of the 1950s and 60s greatly influenced my worldview. I read many of King's books and sermons, finding myself inspired by his words; inspired to see how we can and should use our lives to improve the world.

After my husband's death in an accident, I was disoriented and confused about what I wanted to do with my life for a long time. Theater and acting didn't consume me like they did before. The idea of finding more meaning and making the world a better place kept pushing me to think differently. After a few years of working with Georgia and Mississippi's artist-in-residence programs as a drama instructor, director and writer, I realized that I wanted to teach full-time.

This meant I had to go back to college and take all of the math and science courses I avoided the first time around. I spent a year at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque working on finishing my bachelor's degree. Then, when my father became ill with terminal cancer, I returned to Georgia and enrolled in The University of Georgia in Athens.

It wasn't particularly easy being a 33 year old student in college with 18 and 19 year olds. It was often lonely, but I can honestly say that I felt my late husband with me, guiding me through this new territory. I learned so much from him, I'll always be grateful.

When my father died from cancer, I went back to acting for a short time and also worked for a while as a Pre-K teacher. Then I returned to UGA and finished my degree at the age of 40. I then started my teaching career in Fayette County, Georgia at Sandy Creek High School. I taught Drama and Speech and Communications the first two years. Then I became certified to teach English because they cut my teaching position in Drama. I taught English for two years, but I soon had to leave because my mother had a stroke.

I had to move in with her and help her recuperate. While I was home, I taught a year at South Hall Middle School in Gainesville, GA. I didn't return after that year because I wanted to return to high school teaching.

This year would have been my 14th year at Hart County High School, in N. E. Georgia, if it hadn't been for the Coronavirus. My 90 year old mother lives with me. Her health is frail; there is no way I could continue to teach in a school where students weren't required to wear masks and then come home to her. It was just too dangerous, so I left.

I am thrilled that I will be able to continue to teach here with Varsity Tutors. It means the world to me to continue to try to better my little corner of the world.

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Shawna’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of Georgia - Athens - Bachelor in Arts, Theater Arts

Graduate Degree: Piedmont College - Master of Arts Teaching, Education


My interests and hobbies center around reading and watching small, independent movies with my brother. Reading broadens my world and the movies I like best are made on small budgets with tons of creativity. I admire that!

Tutoring Subjects

Adult Literacy

College English


Essay Editing

High School English

High School Writing

Middle School Reading

Middle School Reading Comprehension

Middle School Writing

Public Speaking


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