The Drive to Succeed

Alumna Reflects on University Connections

Ann Levett headshot in front of backdropAnn Levett’s distinguished career has come full circle, thanks to her new job as superintendent of the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System (SCCPSS). It’s where she grew up as a student and where she began her teaching career four decades ago.

“It just seems, somedays, like it was destined to happen,” Levett said. “As a proud product of the public schools and lifelong educator, I have a strong sense of knowing what the needs are. I have connections to the community and a vested interest in the success of our community. By me being in this position, I have a view that someone else may not have who comes from the outside.”

The graduate of Savannah’s Beach High School also has strong connections to the newly consolidated Georgia Southern University. Levett earned a Bachelor of Science in speech and language pathology from Armstrong, and a master’s in special education and a master’s in public administration from Georgia Southern. Her doctoral degree in educational administration came from the University of Georgia. The superintendent discovered her passion for education at an early age.

“I was maybe six or seven when I decided that I wanted to be a teacher,” the alumna said. “I think it’s because I am the oldest in my family and I always enjoyed playing the role of the teacher. I enjoyed seeing my sisters and brothers learn and I think that’s what got me going.”

Levett’s rise up the education ranks has been remarkable. Her many titles include special education teacher, high school principal, deputy superintendent, and higher education positions at Antioch University, Yale University School of Medicine and Macon State College/Middle Georgia State College.

“The power to work with others and make a positive difference in the lives of kids and families. That is what I have enjoyed the most,” she said. “The fact that through my daily work I can be encouraging, create opportunities and empower people. I think anytime that you can help people realize their own potential, then that’s what you ought to do.”

Levett was the dean of teacher education at Macon State College when it consolidated with Middle Georgia College. In her current position as SCCPSS superintendent, she is hopeful the new Georgia Southern will create greater opportunities for her students, teachers and staff.

“We enjoyed a good relationship with Armstrong and with Georgia Southern and we are looking forward to strengthening that partnership,” she said. “Anytime you merge or consolidate, people will ask ‘what difference is it going to make?’ As a person who is concerned about future learning opportunities for students, that’s what I am looking for. The plan sounds promising so I am hoping we will see those plans and enhancements come to fruition.”

Levett still cherishes the close relationships she developed with some of her college classmates. They have stayed in touch and fondly recall their time on campus, “whether it was crying over something, celebrating our achievements, or being irritated by something that didn’t work as well as we wanted it to work,” said Levett, who attends Eagle football games. “I also have reached out to some of my former professors who are not necessarily on the campus anymore to remind them of the positive difference they made in my life. As to Georgia Southern, I still have a little bit of blue running through my veins. You can’t go through an institution and be involved in its life and not have some affinity for it or some feeling about it. An institution is an institution. It’s the people that make a difference.”

— Sandra Bennett