2018 Education Service Award Recipient
TAMMY LaNAE PULLIAM EDWARDS
Tammy LaNae Pulliam Edwards is a native of Chesterfield County and resides in the Matoaca Magisterial District. Tammy is a product of Chesterfield County Public School System and attended Ettrick Elementary moving on to graduate from Matoaca High School. She continued her education and graduated from Virginia State University in 1997 where she earned a Bachelor of Individualized Studies degree with a concentration in Vocal Music Education; and she is certified in Elementary Education. In 2014, Mrs. Edwards earned a Master of Education degree in Leadership from Regent University.
Early on in Mrs. Edwards' childhood, she was always singing--she sang at home, at church, and at community functions. God blessed her with a beautiful voice. Mrs. Edwards was baptized at Union Grove Baptist Church in Chesterfield; and it was a given that she would become a member of the Youth Choir where she continued to sing. In addition, she was an active participant in the Girl Scouts.
While at Matoaca High, she was invited by the Wives of Beaux Twenty of Petersburg to be a debutante. Mrs. Edwards was named in Merit's Who's Who Among American High School Students. She was Senior Chorus Soprano with guest conductor Vito E. Mason in the Virginia Music Education Association presents the District Three All-Regional Chorus Concert at Lloyd C. Bird High School. She served as president of the acclaimed Virginia State University Gospel Choir reunion group when they celebrated their 12th anniversary at Petersburg High School with the theme "God is On Our Side" with guest conductor Larry Bland.
Mrs. Edwards began her teaching career as a long-term substitute teacher in the Petersburg Public School system. At that time, she really did not intend to make teaching a career. As she explored career options, she developed a love for teaching children and watching them learn and grow intellectually and socially.
Later, Mrs. Edwards served as a Reading and Math instructional assistant. During this time, the administration of Petersburg Public Schools recommended that she become a certified teacher. Tammy returned to Virginia State University to complete undergraduate studies with Petersburg Public Schools providing funding to support her post- secondary training.
Mrs. Edwards has always been inspired by the words and actions of both her grandmother, Elva Manson Billips and great-aunt, Rosa Manson Lewis. Their words resonate with Tammy each day as she teaches and trains her students to become the best that they can be. Tammy acknowledges teachers and administrators along the way who have helped her immensely through mentorship and general motivation.
Mrs. Edwards' first full-time teaching position was at Walnut Hill Elementary School in Petersburg where she taught kindergarten and witnessed so much student growth in a year's time. The parents worked with her to insure that their children succeeded
Mrs. Edwards loves teaching and enjoys implementing new programs and spearheading visions of teaching and learning. She has been an administrator for after school, extra-curricular and summer camp programs. She enjoys equally both teaching and administration.
With the paraprofessional experiences and teaching opportunities in Petersburg, Mrs. Edwards sought to share her knowledge and skills in Chesterfield County. She has been teaching in Chesterfield County for more than thirteen (13) years. Her first assignment was at Hopkins Elementary followed by several years at Ecoff Elementary. She is currently teaching at Bensley Elementary School and was instrumental in establishing a relationship with From One Hand To Another (FOHTA). This is a STEAMM, (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math and Motivation) camp that is the brainchild of Grammy award winner, singer, songwriter and producer Pharell Williams; the camp is funded by Mr. Williams. FOHTA's approach and priority is to nurture the importance of education with tools and resources so that our children will begin their future technologically advanced, academically centered, globally focused and socially aware. Some of the experiences of the summer camp have included a trip to NASA Langley to speak with an astronaut on board the International Space Station, visits to Radio One, the Federal Reserve Bank, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. Students have also been engaged in developing their own businesses and participated in a mock Shark Tank . Business owners from our community judged the students. The students ages ranged from 7-10 years old (grades 2 – 5). They have also worked to develop public service announcements that deal with relevant social issues. As an added gift to the FOHTA students, Mr. Williams partnered with Leeesa Mattress Company and donated a twin mattress to every student attending camp this summer. The mattresses were delivered to Bensley Elementary with distribution to parents and students. The August 2018 culminating activity included parents, students and staff.
Mrs. Edwards most fulfilling and enjoyable experience is when she sees a former student and they have gone to or completed college. They often say, "It is because you pushed me and told me that I could be whatever I wanted to be". One of her former students recently earned and received her doctorate degree.
Since 2001, Mrs. Edwards has served as a Deaconess at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church in Petersburg, VA. She is a member of the Dr. Wesley K. McLaughlin Educational Scholarship Foundation and Christian Education Department since 2005. Mrs. Edwards is a Certified Christian Counselor; member of the Christian Education Ministry and teaches Sunday School. She is often a guest soloist for community, political and educational ceremonies and events.
Mrs. Edwards is the daughter of Richard S. Billips and Floristine Billips as well as the late Virginia Ann Pulliam. She is married to Mr. Martin C. Edwards, Sr. who is a teacher in the Richmond Public School System. They have three children, Tiffany, Roderick, and Martin, Jr. Tiffany is a graduate of Henrico High School; Roderick is a graduate of Matoaca High and Virginia State University and is a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army. Martin, Jr. will be a junior at Matoaca High this fall and is in the honors / dual enrollment program taking college level courses.