Toccoa Falls helped build a solid educational foundation that I was able to build upon. I had so many wonderful professors who poured into my life while at TFC. One of my first classes I had was Comp I with Mrs. Suzanne Rich. She became my encourager and was instrumental in keeping me in college when I thought I just might not make it. I wanted to be a teacher just like Mrs. Rich, one who made everyone she talked to feel as though they were the most important person in the whole world at that time. She modeled for me what a Godly Christian teacher should do; live a life of encouragement and help others become successful. She seemed more concerned about the success of others than her own success. In my book (I am working on a book entitled The Educational Heart Specialist) she will be listed as that type of teacher, always putting others before self. TFC continues to develop servant leaders who will go to all parts of the world and become world changers. I feel blessed to have had the TFC educational experience.
I was the first Dean of the College of Education at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, and served in that capacity for the past five years. I recently (August 2011) transitioned from that position to become a fulltime Professor of Education where I am able to have a more direct impact on the lives of our students. My passion is teaching and helping others become successful in the area of education. In 2005, I was selected as the Polk County Teacher of the Year. In 2006, I was honored to be named the 2006 Florida Teacher of the Year. Also in 2006, I was selected as one of the four finalists for the 2006 National Teacher of the Year, which allowed me an opportunity to visit the White House and meet President and Mrs. George W. Bush in the Oval Office.
Dr. Samuel Bennett graduated in December 1985 from TFC.