From janitor to assistant principal: Local woman shares her inspiring story
BATON ROUGE - As teachers and staff at Istrouma Middle put the finishing touches on their classrooms for the start of school tomorrow, assistant principal Pam Talbert could not be more excited.
"Miracles happen and you're looking at a miracle. I am a miracle, and I'm so blessed to be here," said Pam, standing in front of a wall full of awards.
Pam's journey to co-head of the school has not been typical, or easy.
"I started off as a janitor," she said.
After a teacher asked her if she ever thought about becoming an educator, she says she knew she had to try. But there was a big obstacle in her way.
"I could not read and write. I was on a third-grade level."
It wasn't until Pam had children of her own that she found a way to achieve her dream.
"Everything that my children learned, they would come back and they would sit down with me and they would teach me. That's why I'm so grateful for my kids," Pam said.
Eventually, after becoming a bus driver, she managed to go back to school and earn both her bachelor's and master's degrees at Southern University.
"I started that journey not being able to read and write. It was very hard, but I persevered because I knew that it was important that I did that. It wasn't just for me. My story's not for me, it's for others."
Pam's zeal for inspiring doesn't go unnoticed.
"Ms. Talbert is phenomenal. If you know her story, then that in itself is amazing," Ebony Noah said. "When there are subs that can't show up when teachers are absent, she goes in and teaches the class."
She makes sure her students and their parents know her story, so people who struggled like her can be inspired.
"Despite where you're coming from, or your background, your history or where you live... It's going to be alright if you persevere. If you try," Talbert said. "First you have to put forth the steps. No one is going to give you anything."
And her story's not done yet.
Pam's headed back to school with her son. They'll both be working to earn their PhD's from Southern University. Her life-long goal is opening a school for kids and parents to learn to read and write.