While Dr. Jennifer Reynolds’ path from Reinhardt University led her to a career in education, she uses her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree to help special education students at Teasley Middle School in Canton.
Reynolds’ strides and dedication have earned her Georgia Trend’s 40 Under 40 designation and The Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce’s 10 Under 10 for 2017.
“Originally I wanted to go into art therapy,” said Reynolds ’02. “After working with children more, I realized I could do more in an educational setting. I use my art background a lot because my students are very visual.”
After earning her B.F.A. with a focus in ceramics and photography from Reinhardt, Reynolds continued her education at North Georgia College and State University for her Master of Education in Special Education and at Liberty University for her Doctorate of Education. She also has an education specialist certificate from University of West Georgia.
Reynolds, 36, of Waleska, is the special education department chair and professional learning teacher leader at Teasley Middle School.
Her art background has greatly assisted in her work in education, including getting a young child needed help.
“When I was at the elementary level, I had a student who would not nap,” she said. “So I let her draw during naptime. Her drawings revealed why she refused to nap.”
Reynolds learned the child was living in an abusive atmosphere.
“Her drawings showed us what she couldn’t tell us,” Reynolds said.
The student was able to get the help she needed and was placed in a better, safer situation.
While that story was one Reynolds called the most profound, she feels like she is reaching children daily with her foundation built at Reinhardt University.
“Day to day, I feel like I’m using the visual side of it. I integrate visual aspects into the lessons, and they can understand those abstract ideas. Visuals make it more concrete for them,” she said.
Reynolds work outside the classroom is something she calls rewarding, as well. She recently had the opportunity to present her research on autism at the Council for Exceptional Children conference in Boston.
“It was incredible to represent the Cherokee County School District at a national level,” she said.
Reynolds lives in Waleska with her husband, Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds, and their children. She is active in the Service League of Cherokee County and serves as the faculty advisor for the recently chartered Interact Club (Rotary Club of Canton) at Teasley Middle School.