Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue
Skikila Smith, MS in Secondary Education in CEHHS

Student Returns for MS in TPTE While Son Starts College At Her Side


Skikila Smith is a returning student to the University of Tennessee who will be pursuing her MS in Secondary Education through the Department of Theory and Practice in Teacher Education.  The road to Skikila’s life today was not without a multitude of obstacles but has led to her completing her education while her son, Rudy Pirtle, just enrolled for his first year as a student in the new class of the Volunteer Bridge Program.

Skikila Smith with mentor Susan BennerSmith found a mentor in retired Associate Dean and Director of the David T. Bailey Graduate School of Education, Susan Benner.  With Benner’s encouragement and help to plan her strategies, Smith took things one step at a time.  With help from the Educational Advancement Program and after receiving the Charles Lattimore African-American Scholarship for Future Teachers, Smith was able to pay for her graduate education.

Smith will begin her upcoming internship year at her alma mater; Austin East High School.  Smith hopes that her story will inspire and give strength to another young adult.  Share Smith’s story and the road that has led to her success. Here’s also a video from WATE-TV 6 in May when Rudy graduated as Mom shared her proud moment.