Career and commitment are one and the same for Carol Perry.
However, within those comes a difference, reality and wishes — and both of those pertain to children.
August marked 30 years as an educator for Perry. December will mark 21 years she has served in the Navy Reserve. In both cases, she has come in contact with children, of this nation and others. And in both cases they worked their way to the 55-year-old's heart.
Perry, now principal at Rancho Village Elementary School in Oklahoma City Public Schools and a senior chief in the Navy Reserve, was asked what it is about children that have landed them in her heart.
“The reality that I can only do so much,” Perry said.
“I wish I could give each child the sense of security that all is going to be good in their world. What I can provide them with is the assurance that I love them and I will always have a hug for them when they need it.”
Battling for students
In education, Perry started her career in Cleveland, OK, spent six years in Sand Springs, six years in Tulsa and 10 years in Bixby.
The past six years she has been with Oklahoma City public schools.
In the military, she has been deployed three times, to Iraq, United Arab Emirates and Afghanistan.
“During my last deployment, I was the education liaison between the director of education of Farah province (Afghanistan), his schools, and the U.S.,” Perry said. “I spent my deployment interacting with the administrators, teachers and students of Farah province.”
She said her role in the military has helped her in her other commitment, that of education.
“I worked for an outstanding commanding officer in Afghanistan who taught me the fine art of believing in my abilities when pushed to the breaking point,” Perry said.
The right profession
Still, it comes back to the children.
“Every student I have come across in my career has impacted my life in one way or another,” she said.
“Every day I am validated in the fact that I have chosen the right profession. I love my students.
“This holds true, as well, for those students in Iraq and Afghanistan that I had the pleasure of working with. All children can tell if you have a genuine concern for them.”
Tierney Tinnin, spokeswoman for Oklahoma City Public Schools, said Perry is a great principal, a champion for children and a proud service member.
“No one could ever have been given a better lot in life,” Perry said.
“I recommend to anyone a profession in education or the military. I have been blessed to be a part of both organizations.”