2, 2002 (Lexington, Ky.) -- When
Greta Barnes Fowler moved to Lexington in 1998 to
join her husband who had taken a job a year earlier
at IBM, she could not find a job in her own field
of biology and microbiology.
mother, an elementary school teacher in Birmingham,
Ala., suggested she try substitute teaching.
so glad she suggested that," Fowler said.
loved teaching and I never thought I would. I taught
all over Fayette County," she added, "including Squires,
Johnson and Clays Mill elementary schools."
I was substituting," she recalls, "some of the other
teachers suggested I consider getting into the TOP
(Teacher Opportunity Program) then offered in the
University of Kentucky College of Education."
program allowed persons who wanted to change careers
to complete educational requirements for a Kentucky
teacher certificate while getting classroom experience
serving as a teaching assistant, said the program's
coordinator, Loretta Clark.
told Fowler about a financial assistance program from
Columbia Gas, a company that supports efforts to put
more minority teachers in classrooms.
received $10,000 in fellowship money from Columbia
Gas and was a superb student, said Columbia Gas Chief
Executive Officer Joe Kelley. "She'll make a wonderful
classroom teacher," he commented.
and Fowler were also part of a human rights program
supported by Columbia Gas. The company paid for a
delegation of aspiring teachers to visit Poland for
a week. The visit gave the teachers an intensive insight
into the holocaust and they will be able to share
that information in their classrooms.
of the TOPS program and Columbia Gas support, Fowler
said, "It was a great experience. I feel so lucky
to have found Miss Clark and then to have Columbia
Gas provide scholarship support was just awesome."
who has a bachelor's degree in biology and a master's
degree in biology with a concentration in microbiology,
earned her teaching certificate in 2½ years.
begin her new full-time teaching career in a fifth
grade classroom this fall in Lexington's Northern
excited," she said. "It's just a perfect fit."