Professor Barbara Summers has a long history with FSCJ, beginning when she started taking classes at North Campus when she was only 17. She also received an athletic scholarship to participate in track and cross-country with the College’s Athletics program.
She went on to pursue her running career and earned a Bachelor of Arts at The University of Nevada, Las Vegas, before returning to Jacksonville. That's when she started working with the adult education program and hasn’t looked back. She has been dedicated to the program for over 30 years and began serving as a full-time employee at FSCJ since 2003.
Summers believes it is her job to give students the support, confidence and tools needed to be successful. She understands that that they may lack confidence. For many students, this is their first time being back in an educational setting. Many of her students have faced academic crises, learning challenges, physical disabilities, language barriers, and\or personal problems that have stood in the way of them achieving their dream of earning a high school diploma or GED®.
As a child, she remembers thinking of school as a burden and being so overwhelmed at times. Now as a professor, she does everything in her power to provide a fun, creative and stress-free classroom environment. Her goal is to keep students engaged and excited about learning, and she does this by providing a comfortable classroom and allowing every student that enters her classroom to have a voice. She also incorporates sign language, humor, original paintings, created educational videos, historical artifacts and has even created a board game.
“When I first meet a student, I see them as a high school graduate. My job is to assist them in making their vision a reality. It’s a journey that is worth every creative effort I have,” she said.
When asked about her most cherished success story, she said, “Everyone has a success story. I expect a lot and will find a way to get all students to graduation! My students inspire me!”