b'PROFILESPAUL LEAVY, VSUA Legacy of EducationJohnnie MarshallG rowing up in the rural city of Whigham, Georgia, the value of education was instilled in Johnnie Marshall Jr. at a young age. From family members and teachers who impacted and helped shape his life, Marshall embraces the value and life-changing potential of education. I loved school and gravitated to school life, says Marshall, whoFor more than a decade, Marshall has been a part of VECAs headed to Valdosta State University after graduating from Cairotransformation, moving from classroom teacher to school High School in 2006. Ive always known I wanted to pursue aadministrator and a nationally recognized academic leader.career in education.I am a beneficiary of the collaboration of Valdosta City Schools A three-time graduate of VSU, Marshall earned a Bachelor ofand Valdosta State University, says Marshall, who was named Science in Education, Masters degree in Middle Grades Education,2013 VECA Teacher of the Year. I have reaped so many benefits as and a Doctor of Education.an educator. VECA is comprised of passionate, inspiring teachers who love what they do every day. They understand the mission A proclaimed life-long learner, Marshall is passionate aboutof early college academies and how the experience can impact a inspiring students through the learning process.students future. During his junior year at VSU, he received his first glimpse ofJust five years into his classroom teaching career, Marshall classroom instruction as a student observer with the Valdostawas named an Apple Distinguished Educator for his work to Early College Academy (VECA). A partnership with VSU andimplement Apple technologies within the classroom. Valdosta City Schools, VECA provides students with a solid academic focus and emphasis on college preparation.He continued to push for innovative technology access and was instrumental in VECA being one of the first schools in South I fell in love with the program, says Marshall, who also completedGeorgia to implement an iPad initiative that placed mobile his student teaching requirements at VECA. After my firsttechnology in the hands of every student and teacher. experience with the program, I extended my support as a volunteer by tutoring and mentoring students.The iPads help leverage teaching and learning in inconceivable ways, says Marshall, who was recognized nationally for his tech-When the offer came to join VECAs teaching staff, Marshall didntsavvy prowess with the 2019-2020 Milken Educator Award. They hesitate to say yes. 42 SG MAGAZINE| WINTER 2022 BUSINESS + CULTURE43'