Educator embraces role as 'seed planter'

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By Robert Villanueva

Brenda Tucker believes in education.


Whether as part of her career as an educator that has spanned some three decades or as one of the caretakers of the Emma Reno Connor Black History Gallery in Elizabethtown, knowledge is important to Tucker.

For about 30 years, the Radcliff resident has been in the education field, but she doesn’t call her profession a job because she enjoys it so much.

“It doesn’t seem like I’ve gone to work a day,” she said.

As a guidance counselor at Kingsolver Elementary School at Fort Knox, Tucker provides direction for students, staff and parents alike. She said she likes being there, particularly for students because parents don’t always have time to lend them an ear.

“I want to be that ear for them,” Tucker said.

Not only has Tucker been recognized as Certified Employee of the Quarter at Fort Knox, in 1997, while teaching at Meadow View Elementary School in Hardin County Schools, Tucker won the ExCEL Award. The award recognizes outstanding educators, and Tucker said, she was grateful for the honor.

“I’d thought I’d won a Grammy,” she said, describing the excitement of the experience.

Though the award signifies excellence in education, Tucker pointed out it takes a team to ensure students are being provided what they need to be successful.

“In addition, success for each student often looks different from the next student, and that’s OK,” Tucker said. “Because at the end of the day what we, as educators, want to know is that we have done what is right and good for everyone.”

As early as when she was 5 or 6, Tucker remembers wanting to be a teacher.

Tucker and her husband arrived in Hardin County in 1987 after they moved from Würzburg, Germany, where she taught fourth grade. When they originally prepared to leave Germany, they had all their belongings sent to Colorado Springs, Colo., one of the places they sought employment until they were both offered jobs in Hardin County.

“I guess we must have been destined to be here,” Tucker said.

Being here has meant getting involved in the community, too.

As a member of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, Tucker is very active in many ministries. She credited God with where she is today and said she owed everything she is to Him.

A 35-year member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority, a public service organization, Tucker has served four terms as Fort Knox Alumnae Chapter president and is the current president.

The organization, she said, is active in hosting community events, such as health fairs, and in partnering with other groups, such as the Brother to Brother program. That program strives to keep black male students from falling behind in subjects such as math and reading.

“We can accomplish more together than we can by ourselves,” Tucker said.

For about 20 years, the sorority has hosted an open house for the Black History Gallery, where Tucker and her husband, Ralph, have become caretakers.

“The Black History Gallery tells a story that I don’t think is captured in textbooks,” Tucker said.

While many children might be familiar with figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., a lot of other important figures, such as Frederick Douglass, are virtually unknown to them, she said.

“I think the Black History Gallery can help them appreciate our heritage and honor it,” Tucker said.

Knowing where we’ve been, she said, is important when it comes to knowing where we’re going.

But Tucker doesn’t believe in looking back, particularly with regret or for too long.

“Reflection is good,” she said. “But don’t linger in the past; you’ll miss out on what’s in front of you.”

One of the things Tucker makes sure not to miss out on is spending time with family, which she feels is important.

While that philosophy includes her husband and three sons, it also extends to the students she’s come to know over the years. Often she will attend her students’ athletic games to show support.

Tucker said she wants to instill substance, work ethic, sense of community, respect and faith in the children she comes in contact with. It might be a tall order, and she knows it can’t be done all at once.

“I consider myself a seed planter,” she said..

Robert Villanueva can be reached at (270) 505-1743 or rvillanueva@thenewsenterprise.com.

City of birth: Corinth, Miss.
City of residence: Radcliff
Family: Husband, Ralph, and three sons
Favorite music: Jazz, Kenny G., Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye
Favorite movies: Meryl Streep movies
Favorite books: Cookbooks
Favorite TV show: “The Andy Griffith Show"
Hobbies: Reading, gardening, cooking and entertaining