Donated photo. In honor of Black History Month, Haywood Community College is proud to spotlight Sarah Mathis, Early Childhood instructor. She believes the key factor in fostering a welcoming, supportive and inclusive environment is to make everyone you come into contact with feel welcome no matter who they are or where they come from.

In honor of Black History Month and as part of the College’s month-long recognition series, Haywood Community College is proud to spotlight Sarah Mathis, Early Childhood instructor. As a great inspiration to students, Mathis began her journey in the field as a mother enrolling her children at Sampson County Head Start and then getting a job there years later.

Soon Mathis found teaching was her passion. Two degrees later, she became director of the very same Head Start. Now, she watches things come full circle as her students graduate, go to work in childcare centers and some even become directors, inspiring coworkers to pursue their education.

For Mathis, becoming a teacher was a dream of hers from second grade when she experienced the impact of a dedicated teacher. “I tell my students to set goals that are reachable and if something happens and you can’t reach these goals within the timeframe you’ve set, reassess them and go forward. Never give up on your dream.”

Mathis believes that early childhood education is important in every child’s life. “The first five years is where the foundation is laid for the rest of their life,” she explains. “I do believe that children learn through play and I also believe at a certain age, children should have some structure for learning.”

Mathis received an Associate degree from Sampson Community College. She continued her education to receive a Bachelor’s degree from Fayetteville State University and most recently completed a Master’s from the University of Phoenix. The Clinton, North Carolina native believes education is the reason for where she is today. “Education will help you go places that you could never imagine going in your lifetime.”

Mathis says the key factor in fostering a welcoming, supportive and inclusive environment is to make everyone you come into contact with feel welcome no matter who they are or where they come from. “I am willing to help anyone that needs me because that is my purpose here on earth,” she explains. “I am a prayer partner for many and a comforter for those who may be going through hard times. I am a listener and a person to give you advice on things that are within my reach.”

All these ingredients are the perfect recipe for life and for being an outstanding teacher.

When asked about self-care during these challenging times, Mathis says sometimes it is okay to put yourself first. “Take some time to relax and enjoy life.”

Mathis enjoys cooking, baking, reading, working with the youth at her church and spending time with family, especially her grandchildren.