OurBlk Woman X Owner, Founder & Principal of Philmore Academy, Sherrie Philon.
Owner, Founder and Principal of Philmore Academy, Sherrie Philon shares HerMoves with OurBlk Woman
Philmore Academy for Science & Arts develops global leaders of excellence through strategies of hands-on, 21st century, research-based approaches to learning in mathematics, science and the Arts. In addition, through the development of leadership, as well as, self-confidence building strategies, both inside and outside of the classroom, PA is able to ensure that all aspects of the learning environment is right for students to feel safe and learn in classes that are research based and hands-on.
The PAST model combines all three learning goals into a holistic experience for the child and the entire family. An education at Philmore Academy means a top-notch education built on a leading, age-appropriate curriculum anchored in science and technology. As well as critical enrichment and engagement programming.
Principal Philon has taken the fight for better education head on. And I got a chance to hear more from Sherrie Philon.
Why is it important to embrace who you are?
There is only one person like you in the world. By definition, to embrace means to welcome with open arms and accept completely. The huge impact on self-image in social media has caused question in who we are and what we should look like and do and become. We all want to be accepted and avoid rejection as much as possible. Some people spend their whole lives trying to fit in when indeed we were all created with a purpose to stand out. When you are constantly comparing yourselves, you can never find what your true strength and purpose is. We all have a gift that we bring to this world and when we embrace what makes us different, we then can make an impact. Now more than ever, children must discover this at a young age to ensure that they are able to live in their purpose. My goal is to inspire the youth to discover and embrace who they are and what makes them different.
How does your brand or what you do cultivate cultural empowerment?
My school provides equal access to high quality educational experiences as well as exposure and preparation for careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics for African American students. The state of education today, is one that has negatively impacted minorities by failing to prepare them for success through adequate education. By providing an opportunity for academic success and open doors changes the trajectory of a child’s life. By doing this for African American children, allows them to be an impact on their families, future generations, the economy and ultimately the world.
What is your leadership style?
I am a servant leader. By nature, educators are givers and do not expect anything in return. I exist to serve my students, faculty and staff in whatever capacity needed. Often, this has led me to be the substitute, the nurse, counselor, custodian and everything in between. I am focused on the growth and well-being of my students, my community and society.
In your opinion, how can we as a culture work together to banish prejudices and social clichés?
I am a firm believer that these things are taught or learned behaviors. In order to overcome them we must educate to inform people of the roots that they are grounded in. This begins with building self-esteem and self-worth to know and understand the power that we each possess. Secondly, the education of all people to learn and appreciate others and their experiences. This will allow us to begin to work together to accomplish our individual as well as collective goals.
Why is it important to support education?
What makes Philmore Academy different?
Philmore Academy for Science & Arts provides equal access to high quality educational experiences as well as exposure and preparation for careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics for African American students. It is the first minority owned Science & Performing Arts private school of excellence in the state of Georgia. Philmore Academy education is anchored in an academic experience that is individualized, as well as both challenging and engaging. The school prides itself and the culture of the school around the principles of scholarship, leadership, service and highlights the excellence of African American students.
As a 23-year educator, I can attest to the fact that when people are educated, they are able to significantly contribute to their families and society. This productivity is seen in various aspects and fields, hence creating a more stable and stimulating community and improving their overall quality of life. The higher the education we receive, the more we are able toaccomplish, and better employment opportunities. People who have grown up in poverty but have educated themselves, have higher chances of transforming their lives. This, in turn, will contribute to a decrease in society’s poverty rates. Supporting education will allow schools to educate children to shape a better society for us all to live in.
Why did you choose to pursue education? How is what you do vital to the current cultural landscape?
The mantle on my life to be an educator and impact the world through it was strong even as a child. There was no desire for students at my high school to want to attend college or think about the next step in their future. It was then that I knew that I had to make a difference in the educational system through my education. Being the first college graduate in my family with multiple degrees, has allowed me to be an inspiration to students that I have taught throughout the years that were faced with the same adversities as I had growing up and still be triumphant. My greatest joy as an educator has been to see students who have come out of hopeless situations and have gone on to college and be the first in their families as well. I am a firm believer and a testament that education is the key that opens the door to all things in life and can never be taken away.Equal access to a quality education is vital to the success of all students to positively impact society. Our students canachieve anything that they put their minds they just need to be provided and exposed to the opportunities. the areas of STEM are currently dominated by other races. My Master’s degree is in Mathematics, and I remember being the only black student and only female in a class of 25 engineering majors. This was unheard of at that time because typically girls shy away from the math and science fields because of lack of role models. As an educator and now educational leader, to know that I inspired and showed so many girls of color that they could be anything that they wanted including, doctors and engineers. I was no different from them growing up and my goal is to continue to be an example to show them that if I can do it so can they.
I am passionate about the future of the state of education, more importantly equal access to it. We know that education play a huge role in the life success of a child, and I want to be able to say that I contributed to that. Knowing that I am helping to change the quality of education for so many children for generations to come is what excites me. This work will help change the world for African American students, their families, the economy and the world.
What is your quote to live by?
The quote that I live by is, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” stated byNelson Mandela. I have seen firsthand how a quality education can helps people become better citizens, acquirebetter-paying jobs, and positively impact the economy. Education teaches children the importance of hard work and, at the same time, helps them grow and develop into productive citizens.
Is there a particular moment or memory that stands out for you?
The memory that stands out the most is last school year, we had 3 graduations in one day. Theis include PreK, Kindergarten and High School. My high school graduates received over 2 million dollars in scholarships, acceptances into 40 colleges, graduated with high school credits as well as all over 4.0 GPA’s. Looking at these stats allowed me to finally see the fruits of my labor when beginning 4 years ago and how the school is having an impact on the future generations to come.
Is there an achievement or contribution that you are most proud of?
My why has always been about the future generations of students of color and the impact that schools have on them. I have seen the difference in students who are academically prepared and exposed and ones who are not. To be able tocreate an institution where equal access and exposure is at the forefront for African American students is something that I could never imagined. Within two years I had a plan and two students when I opened my doors on the first day. I have since grown to a 9,000 square foot building which is almost at capacity and some classes with a waiting list. My faith, patience, perseverance and passion are what has allowed me to overcome them. I have never given up on my plan. It has not been an easy journey but worth it when I see the growth in students who may not have had the same exposure had they been in a different setting. These students will go on to change the world in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics because they have been exposed to it. It is all about exposure. If they see it, they can achieve it.
What has been life changing about your journey?
What has been life-changing were the major obstacles that I faced and overcame. The major hurdle that I faced in the beginning was lack of resources and support. There was no manual on how to start a school and the people who have schools are not willing to assist others starting out. I am no stranger to education, so I began to research and put together my school on my own. Everything did not go as according to planned but I can emphatically say that it was all worth it to see where I am today. I want the legacy of Philmore Academy to be one that people recognize as an institution that provides African American students the access to quality education through exposure and opportunity the areas of STEM and the Arts.
Do you have any upcoming events and/or projects you are involved in?
I have created an educational consulting company, Schools In Session, that will launch January 2022. This mission of this company is to assist other schools become schools of excellence as well as assist others in the journey to opening a school that will be accompanied by a book. I will also assist public schools with providing educational strategies that will move their schools forward. Masterclasses, one-on-one coaching and mentoring will also be available to help them to succeed.