Amber Judkins has taught English and creative writing at Mt. Juliet High School for the past three years. She considers it more than a job; it is her calling.
“I have always loved learning and loved sharing what I know, but during my junior and senior years in high school, I had a teacher, Mrs. Cantrell, that really pushed and inspired me,” Judkins said of choosing the profession. “For two years, I worked harder in her English classes than I had ever worked in school. She pushed met to be a better writer and a better thinking. Most of all, she taught me to have confidence in what I could do it this life … I knew I wanted to do the same for others.”
Judkins grew up in Wilson County. She is originally from Gladeville, and her family relocated to Watertown when the Nashville Superspeedway bought part of their farm. She attended Watertown High School, where she was involved in FFA, student government and was editor of the newspaper and literary magazine.
After graduation, Judkins recalled being “dissuaded” from teaching by many in the profession. “I choose to become a hairstylist, knowing that it would provide me with a creative outlet and the freedom of being self-employed,” she said.
Judkins went to Genesis Career College and worked for nine years in the beauty industry. During that time, she returned to Middle Tennessee State University to get her teaching license and pursue her original goal. Judkins obtained her degree in English from MTSU, with minors in education and interior design.
The biggest reward from teaching is seeing her students grow. “Knowing that I am providing them with skills they need to succeed is very special to me,” she said. “Even more, I love the connections that I make along the way. My kids know that I care about them and want what’s best for them, and I think that means more to them and to me than anything.”
Judkins is joined at MJHS by her husband, Luke, who is also an educator. They have been married for almost a year and a half. On their days off the couple enjoys reading, visiting book stores, hiking and learning about history. They also have three cats at home.
Judkins named her mother as the woman she admires most. “I have a lot of really strong and admirable women in my life, but my momma is the strongest, most selfless and most loving person I know,” she shared. “She has faced hard times all of her life but has always come out on top. When I was growing up, she moved mountains to provide for me and give me every kind of support.”
She added that her mom shared a love of reading and great work ethic with her too.
“My momma is the best role model that I could have asked for,” Judkins concluded. “All of the wonderful things she instilled in me are being passed on to my students. Her impact in this life is truly prolific.”
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