Finishing Strong: 2015 Graduate Valerie Carr


Set to graduate from Armstrong on May 9 with a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in Early Childhood Education, Valerie Carr is finishing strong with a healthy career move.

Elementary school teachers thrive on the special bonds they form with students as they grow and learn each year. That’s why Valerie is excited to soon work with the very people she adores most.

“I love kids,” she confesses. “I’m thrilled to be an educator.” 

The birth of her own child prompted Valerie to switch from a demanding hospitality job to a family-friendly and inspired career.

After hearing raves about Armstrong’s teaching program from both her mother-in-law and cousin, Valerie reached out to Dr. John Hobe, the MAT department head and an experienced advisor, whom she credits for stellar guidance.

“Dr. Hobe told me that the MAT program would be the path for me,” says Valerie, who holds an undergraduate degree in fine arts and a master’s in architecture.  “That’s when I decided to take the plunge.”

Acquiring a foundation for teaching while addressing the particular needs of early childhood students, Valerie was admittedly jittery about her ability to create planning structures that are vital to the job.  But her professors soon had her at ease.

“The program was great,” she notes.  “I really enjoyed the classes, and the teachers taught me a lot.  I was nervous about the lesson plans, so they were able to walk me through it.”

Having just wrapped a full-time, semester-long, field-based graduate internship teaching at Marlow Elementary in Bloomingdale, Valerie is also grateful for Armstrong’s well-rounded department, which infuses psychology themes throughout its education and allows her to effectively work with different age groups and understand their various needs.

“Armstrong definitely prepared me,” she says.

Now qualified for a profession that U.S. News & World Report ranks 39th on its 100 Best Jobs list, Valerie’s resume is out in Chatham, Effingham and Bryan counties, and the future is very bright.