Former accountant ready to teach

Jim Blaylock/Staff
Rebecca Pinkerton was inspired to work in the classroom after working with her daughter, who had to relearn her language skills after epileptic seizures.

When Rebecca Pinkerton was in fourth grade, she wrote a paper about her dream of going into the education field one day.

Three decades and one career change later, the former accountant's wish is about to come true. Ms. Pinkerton will teach fourth grade at Riverside Elementary School this year.

"Leaving the accounting profession, people thought I was crazy for going into education," she said.

She is looking forward to the school year and to following in the footsteps of her mother-in-law, Alice Pinkerton, a fourth-grade teacher at Brookwood Elementary School.

"She's been passing along oodles of information," she said.

Ms. Pinkerton, who was a homemaker and stay-at-home mom when her two daughters were younger, worked in accounting for three years.

Her interest in education was renewed after a form of epilepsy left her younger daughter with a language deficit four years ago.

Seizures caused her daughter to lose her ability to speak, Ms. Pinkerton said, and she had to relearn her language skills through private therapy and special services from the school system.

"Through years of working with her and having to be creative with her education, I found my love of education," Ms. Pinkerton said.

She returned to Augusta State University, where she earned her accounting degree, and completed the Master of Arts in Teaching program, which is designed for people who have a bachelor's degree in a field other than education.

"I loved the accounting profession, but accounting required a lot of hours of work," Ms. Pinkerton said.

By becoming a teacher, she said, "I thought I could get the best of both worlds. I kind of regret not going into education in the beginning." Ms. Pinkerton has been hard at work setting up her classroom, but she might feel a little trepidation on her first day of school.

"It's scary," she said of changing careers. "But I have a lot to offer these kids as far as real-life experience."

She already has accomplished one feat in her new profession by landing a job.

"At the elementary schools, there are probably 10 applicants for every one position," said Anthony Wright, the Columbia County school system's human resources executive director.

Reach Betsy Gilliland at (706) 868-1222, ext. 113, or betsy.gilliland@augustachronicle.com.

REBECCA PINKERTON

FAMILY: Husband, Chris; two daughters, Katie, 10, and Allie, 8

AGE: 38

OCCUPATION: Fourth-grade teacher

QUOTE: "I just always knew in the back of my mind that I loved education."