For as long as she could remember, Sara Bates, new Academic Counselor for the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), has wanted to work in education.
Bates, who started work at Knox in May, previously worked as the director of the early childhood non-profit Learning Connections in Galesburg, which provides childcare for kids six weeks to 12 years.
Bates stated that she came to Knox “interested in working with students again.” Her job at Knox is split mainly between TRIO, a federal program which focuses its efforts on disadvantaged students, and disability services within the CTL. In addition, she also spends time leading the Red Room tutors, who provide peer tutoring in the library.
This term, Bates is also teaching “Intro to Peer Tutoring,” which trains new tutors. Over the summer she spent time at Knox getting acclimated to the campus.
Bates developed an interest in special education when she participated in a peer mentoring group in high school. Speaking of the experience, Bates said, “We put a lot of things together. Part of it was in class time, part of it we’d do outside of school.”
After graduating from Western Illinois University, Bates moved to Knox County to live closer to her in-laws in Knoxville and to work as a special education teacher at Abingdon High School. Upon receiving a Master’s in Educational Psychology from University of Illinois, Bates ran the early childhood nonprofit Learning Connections, which included managing the day-to-day operations of the non-profit’s Galesburg location as well as running the marketing for the non-profit.
Outside of her job, Bates enjoys spending time with her husband and eight month old daughter Blair. Bates also includes her non-human family members Sadie, a mixed German Shepherd rescue, and Olive, a cat that she “found and couldn’t let go of.”
With a couple of weeks into the school year plus a few months “behind the scenes” at Knox, Bates’ routine differs daily due to her various responsibilities in disability services, TRIO and the college’s peer tutoring program.
Of Knox, Bates said, “I think it’s a great school that is committed to student success… I think there’s a lot of potential with what can be done to bolster student services within the CTL.”