Amazing Students Profiles

Victoria Pettis

Victoria Pettis

Victoria Pettis is a married mother of two children. Besides being a doctoral student in Language Education, she is an English teacher at Clarke Central High School in Athens. Using critical race theory as a theoretical lens, her dissertation explores how English teachers negotiated issues of race in five books within the context of a teacher book club. Victoria has earned external grants and recognition from the AERA/Spencer Foundation, Teaching Tolerance Foundation, and National Conference of Teachers of English in support of this research.


Sylacauga, Alabama

High School:

B.B. Comer High School

Degree objective:

Ph.D. in English Education

Other degrees:

M.A. (Middle Grades Education), University of Georgia
B.A. (English), Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, Alabama

Expected graduation:

August 2004

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

Victoria has presented at several conferences and received grants and fellowships in support of her doctoral research. Her grants have enabled her to organize a pilot reading group among the English teachers in her high school and to purchase a set of primary works in multicultural American literature for each of them to use with their own students. She has followed the group’s discussions for five months and evaluated their outcomes, as well as the lesson plans and pedagogical changes that resulted, in her dissertation. Her work is a vivid example of how the best scholarship can directly improve the intellectual and cultural lives of ordinary people.

Current Employment:

Currently, I am a full-time high school English teacher at Clarke Central High School in Athens. I have worked there for six years. Previously, I was a English/language arts teacher at Hilsman Middle School for 10 years. My 16-year career as an educator has been serving the children of Clarke County. I am making a career change August 1, 2004. I have accepted an assistant professor of secondary education position with Piedmont College in Athens.

I chose to attend UGA because…

…its location is convenient. I teach all day so I didn’t like the idea of driving to Atlanta to attend doctoral classes. Plus, UGA is a very competitive, respected university.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

Because of my complex, busy life as a wife, mother, teacher, and student, I have little time to do things on campus except make treks to the UGA Library.

When I have free time, I like…

For the past five years, I have not had much free time. When I do, though, I love spending time with my family doing the little things. My favorite thing to do with my family is to go out and eat and then go to the movies. Personally, I can’t wait to be able to swim and read a book (without highlighting) for pleasure.

The craziest thing I’ve done is…

At least twice this school year, I have stayed up all night editing and printing my entire dissertation and then went to work with about 45 minutes of sleep.

My favorite place to study is…

…in my den with the drama “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” playing in the background. This sounds funny but I have become so accustomed to “listening” to that show while writing that I do my best writing when it’s on. I cannot study in a quiet environment like UGA’s library. The quietness would drive me crazy.

My favorite professor is…

Bettie St. Pierre, because she is extremely demanding and has high expectations for her students. She is extremely supportive of new scholars and creates an environment in her class where every voice (no matter how diverse) is valued.

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…

Next to my husband and children (because they are the most important people in my life and they are so much fun to be with), I would love to spend an afternoon with Oprah, because I think we could talk for hours about life.

If money was not a consideration, I would love to…

…spend a week with my family in Hilton Head and then a week in Hawaii, where I would be pampered from head to toe (hair, nails, body massage, etc.) daily. This would be followed by a 7-day cruise to the Bahamas.

After graduation, I plan to…

…thank God and my family for being with me every step of this 5-year journey.