Four years after graduating from Hayes High School, Lexi Purdum has returned to the school as its newest intervention specialist, and she’s happy to be back in the place that inspired her to become a teacher.
Purdum graduated from the school in 2018 and after being very involved as a peer mentor in the transition classroom for special education students, she decided to pursue special education as a career. Purdum said she graduated from Bowling Green State University early in December 2021 and worked in Plain City before accepting a position as an intervention specialist at Hayes.
“It’s really exciting to be back,” Purdum said. “I chose to become a special ed teacher because of the peer mentor program (at Hayes.) So the opportunity to come back here and use that passion that I gained here and have that same experience and be a teacher here is amazing. … I looked at other districts, but ultimately, I knew this is where I wanted to be.”
Purdum said she wanted to return to the district because of “the love the district has for special ed.”
“Being a student here, I saw so many great things,” Purdum said. “(I knew) that I’d also be followed by so much support. I have a lot of relationships here and a lot of rapport. I just knew that this would be the right choice and this was home.”
Purdum said she hopes to inspire students to study special education the way she was inspired at Hayes.
“I love that I now have peers in my classroom that I’m encouraging to become special ed teachers,” Purdum said. “It’s really great. … Hopefully, my story can influence others. The relationships you have in high school do help you.”
Purdum said the best part of returning to the school has been working with the students in the special education program.
“(My favorite thing) is the relationships I’ve built with my students,” she said. “Being their safe place, I really love it. They pick me up on my tough days. They are so great, the best group ever.”
Hayes High School Principal Dr. Ric Stranges said he’s happy to have a former student return to be a teacher.
“(It’s) great to have her here,” Stranges said.
Purdum said she’s looking forward to continuing her career at Hayes.
“It is so exciting,” Purdum said. “It’s so rewarding to know my hard work paid off and this is me living out my passions doing what I wanted to do. I get to live that best life. I’m really happy to be here.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.