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An Unconventional Calling with Unexpected Blessings

Lorie McCann is no stranger to hard work. She started her own business, worked as a campus supervisor, substitute taught middle school and taught adult education at Heald College – all while raising three children! So, when she decided to go back to school for her Master of Arts in Teaching, she was prepared for the challenge. 

“Teaching wasn’t always my dream,” said McCann. “I graduated from Cal Poly, Pomona with my undergrad in Communications with an emphasis on TV and film. I dreamt of becoming a movie director and producer.”

Her dream changed after teaching six years at Heald. She worked with many students who were given “second chances” to finish or build on their education and enjoyed the challenge of teaching at Heald. 

After research and prayer, McCann chose to finish her education at Jessup because she knew she would receive a quality education and the personal support, prayer, and guidance she needed to finish strong. “My favorite thing about Jessup is that it is a God-led university with a faith-based program,” said McCann. The interpersonal relationships between fellow students and staff were immeasurable. The leadership inspired me to keep going and to know it was worth the struggles.” 

McCann was particularly inspired by Jessup’s education department and their support as she earned her teaching credential and master’s degree. “I felt guided and nurtured throughout the whole process,” said McCann. “I was prayed over, high-fived, met with, tutored, and encouraged on a daily and weekly basis.”

So when McCann told her professors she felt God was calling her to teach in a prison, they were initially surprised but extremely supportive. “Every single one of them told me they were going to support me all the way,” said McCann. “They confirmed that yes, this was God’s calling and they were going to stand by me.” 

McCann now works for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Solano Men’s Prison in Vacaville, California. She teaches “Adult Basic Education Two” which is classes and curriculum geared toward adult male inmates with 4-7th grade academic knowledge. There are three, two-hour mandatory classes each day. “I felt God leading me to teach these men and make a difference in their lives. I love encouraging them to do better,” said McCann. “It’s a gift. I love seeing the outcome.” 

Working in a correctional facility is not a typical path for someone with a teaching credential but McCann is passionate about educating other teachers about the opportunities in the prison system. “Most of my cohort thought I was crazy when I stood up on that very first day of classes and introduced myself and where I wanted to end up teaching,” said McCann. “It’s an opportunity people don’t know about. They are hiring teachers all the time.”

McCann is excited about the future and knows she’s exactly where she’s supposed to be. “The Lord has blessed me and it is through grace that I can give back after following His lead and calling for my life.”

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