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WATN? Opal Simmons
Posted on December 10, 2016, by GAPMP
I was one of Clayton County Parent Mentors or Family Liaisons as we called ourselves from 2002 – 2014.
Before becoming one of CCPS’s Family Liaisons, I worked for International Business Machines (IBM) for 30 years in various positions ranging from a Program Support Representative (someone who fixes software on large business computers), Production Systems Analyst, Programmer, Technical Coordinator, Staff Technical Writer, Staff Systems and Procedures Analyst, Course Author/Instructor and a substitute Teacher in Fayette County Public School System. All this but most importantly a researcher, advocate, and supporter of my son who is now a 31-year-old young man who has been employed in the same job since he graduated Fayette County High School in 2010.
Currently I am retired, but working part-time for Global Mate New York, Inc. teaching conversational English to middle/high school, undergraduate/graduate, working and retired professionals in South Korea. My training and experience as a parent mentor gave me a greater insight into the interactions between teachers and their students and how better to see both sides of the coin – how best to present the teaching material. Although my present students are not special needs per say, there is a language difference and the training I received as a mentor has helped tremendously.
Although in my present position there is not an opportunity to collaborate with GAPMP, I am active with my son’s Special Olympics teams and families and a local support/advocacy group in Fayette County where I am given opportunities to either to past on information I gained as a parent mentor or point them to the appropriate place or person for assistance. As for 5 years from now, I anticipate to be fully retired and just be Nana (Grandmother) to my grandkids. But we all know that if Nana has to step in to help, I will be there.