During my recent interview with host Benjamin Gohlstin on WMPU, a local radio station, he shared that he had gone to Dyke Elementary. I told him my mother taught there, and his eyes brightened. “You mean Mrs. Prewitt? All the students loved her.”
My mother would later become an assistant principal at Parkwood Elementary School. She obtained a Master of Arts degree in education and was one of the first black educators promoted to elementary school principal.
But the profession of teaching in our family didn’t stop there, and as I later found, didn’t begin there.
My sister, Marcia Prewitt Spiller, moved to Atlanta where she obtained her Master of Education degree. After working at the Children’s School for several years, Marcia was promoted to Head of School of that private educational institution.
Marcia was then hired by Woodward Academy, another private school in Atlanta, and became senior vice president for academic and student life. Prior to her retirement, Woodward Academy created a Marcia Prewitt Spiller Excellence in Teaching Award to be given in perpetuity.
After searching through some papers my mother had stored, to my surprise, I found that my grandmother, Mary Louise Smith, had also obtained a teaching certificate. As a youngster, I knew little else about Grandma except that she would pinch me whenever I was near and say, “This is for what we didn’t catch you doing.”
There’s a lot my Grandma and parents didn’t catch me doing, but it’s almost impossible to go off the rails even if you wanted to while growing up among three generations of educators.