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Inside the Mind of a Mentor
Posted on December 13, 2014, by GAPMP
Meet the new Decatur County Mentor
My name is Joseph Randall and I am a native of Decatur County, Georgia. I was born in a small town named Climax. I am a graduate of BainbridgeHigh School (1988), BainbridgeCollege (1990), FortValleyStateUniversity (1993), and most recently LibertyUniversity (2013). Pamela is my wife of eight years and we have a wonderful five year old son named Joseph Benjamin Randall, II. Joseph has an eighteen year old brother named Jarret Randall, from a previous relationship. Jarret is currently a freshman at South GeorgiaTechnicalCollege in his hometown of Americus, Georgia.
Pamela and I discovered during our pregnancy that Joseph was diagnosed with Down Syndrome (DS). Joseph is now a kindergartener and we are so proud of him and his progress. Upon discovery of Joseph’s diagnosis we began preparing for his arrival. Pamela is a veteran school teacher who has worked both in the Decatur County as well as DeKalb County School Systems. Since Joseph’s birth she has moved from regular education to exceptional education. Her work in this area has given her insight on the types of things we will need to do in order to give Joseph the best possible chance at success in school.
In an attempt to have a better understanding of how raising Joseph would be different than Jarret, I went back to school to study more. My studies resulted in a MA in Human Services, Counseling. Pamela and I wanted to be sure that we took steps to become better informed so we could be proactive rather than reactive to the challenges before us. Pamela and I have over thirty combined years of experience working in education. She has worked as a middle grades teacher and I worked with the Technical College System of Georgia as well as the University System of Georgia as a program coordinator and part-time instructor.
We sincerely believe that it is our responsibility to be informed and active in the educational process of our son and on a larger scale our community. We are both from Decatur County and have chosen to make it our home. She helps me to understand the jargon and concepts specific to the school system. Coming from a technical college/college the language is a bit different. Perhaps more important than the language, she is helping me to understand the culture of the system and that has already proven helpful.
While in this position, I simply hope to assist other parents who have children receiving services from Exceptional Education to know that the system is here to serve their children, what they can do to help their child progress, their rights, and to simply be there for them.
There will be times when the parents may be angry and other times when they just need a compassionate ear to listen. My ultimate goal is to be available to them, to listen to them, and to assist them as they work to raise a happy child.
Joseph Randall is surrounded by a circle of support: Seminole County Parent Mentor Sherry Delk, (far left) and Ga. Department of Education Family Engagement Specialist Anne Ladd, (second from right) and Baker County Parent Mentor Tracy Barber (far right)