I was 6 years old when my mom remarried this grand, tall, muscular, teddy bear and kind man, who still to this day is my larger than life super-hero. It was 1977, Always and Forever by Heatwave seemed to play endlessly on WJLB radio. My parents purchased a real fixer-upper on the east side of Detroit. The house was “luxuriously” decorated with black walls & shag carpet, it was inhabited with a variety of rodents, and had the “lovely” aromatic fragrance of dog poo. Every evening after school my family and I would go to the house to demolish, clean or repair something. By this time I was in the second grade and excited about having a larger room. Every day I would jump into the project at hand, my parents would say, “No! Stop! You can't do that.” However, my juvenile mind declared, “I know I can!” I was fascinated by the drill. Changing out drill bits became a game of speed. I didn't like getting paint on myself, so I made it my personal challenge to paint without a drop or splatter. I practiced hammering nails in as few strikes as possible.  Soon I became my daddy's trusted sidekick. The years passed quickly. My dad became an NCCER certified instructor and taught in the Federal Bureau of Prisons. I remained his trusty sidekick as he took on outside renovation projects. To my circle of friends and family I was known as “Ralph”, homage to the late Jackie Gleason TV character Ralph Kramden.  Strangely, I never considered my love of the building trades an occupational option; I simply viewed it as a hobby. Four years ago my life took a major twist.  My hair stylist referred me for a position as a Construction Teacher for the public school system. Within a week I found myself deciding between offers to teach Building Trades and Construction at two different high schools.  As fate would have it Duncanville High School made the best offer. Today, I am a Certified CTE-Building Trades and Construction Teacher at Duncanville High School.  My students work from the NCCER Curriculum and I am happily able to pass on my love of construction.  I have been upgraded from “Trusty Sidekick” to “Super Hero-Construction Teacher”.  My daily challenge is to make learning construction fun and exciting.  I am overjoyed by every light bulb moment my students have when learning new concepts. Today’s goal is to become a NCCER certified instructor because I KNOW I CAN!


Leave a comment
  1. Rochelle Behar | Nov 06, 2017

    Thank you for sharing your amazing & inspiring story, Tami

    I'm a veteran member of the National Association of Women in Construction, and as a member of the advisory council of a CTE HS in Queens NY, I encourage women to be speakers and attend the school's Career Day.

    Please also check out some awesome products on my website ConstructionJewelry.com that helps as a fundraiser for some school projects.



  2. R Baker | Oct 31, 2017
    I am the administrator for a construction school.  We publish a monthly newsletter and I would like your permission to include your story in our next issue.  It is a story that we need to share as much as possible.  Great for our industry!
  3. Chris Dodge | Oct 18, 2017

    I know you can because I've seen you do it! Keep making it happen!

  4. A. McCoy | Oct 10, 2017
    Great story! Continue to be a beacon of light Tami! Good stuff! 
  5. Shari | Oct 07, 2017
    That's my niece.... "fix in" is in the blood and you have been blessed with a talent and the God given desire to share what you have with others along the way. Much love, Aunt Shari
  6. Jonathan Roseman-Ross | Oct 06, 2017
    You got it sis... You are a real life Wonder Woman!!! ❤️
  7. Nikkii | Oct 05, 2017
    This article was such a positive inspiration.. I know you will be receiving that NCCER Certification soon.. I know you can!!!
  8. Cleveland | Oct 05, 2017

    You are a true inspiration sis! Not only to me; but to every student (male and female alike), and to every individual who has ever been told “CAN’T” exists in their vocabulary. 


    Keep doing, keep going, keep believing, and keep sharing that which was giving to you so masterfully to share!


    With love,


  9. Krystal | Oct 05, 2017
    You are so amazing! Keep touching youths lives! It’s your calling! Your an inspiration! 
  10. Kirk Lockhart | Oct 05, 2017

    ”I Cant! It’s Impossable!”

    said my Son to me .

    I replied:

    ”Unless I’AM Willing nothing is

    POSSABLE! So drop the IM

    AND EVERYTHING is Possable!”

    So I’m (ME) the only Obstacle between possable and IMpossable. In God (I AM) 

    All things are Possable!

    Motivated by this Scripture:

    And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ' What shall I say to them? ... Tell them I AM hath sent me unto you.

  11. Joanna | Oct 05, 2017
    Wow! That is so AWESOME, Tammie! What can you not do?
  12. Sandy | Oct 05, 2017

    Thank you for sharing your story!  You go girl!  You are an inspiration to all of the students I am sure.  Keep believing because you know you can!



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    About NCCER

    NCCER develops standardized construction and maintenance curricula and assessments with portable credentials. These credentials are tracked through NCCER’s National Registry which allows organizations and companies to track the qualifications of their craft professionals and/or check the qualifications of possible new hires. The National Registry also assists craft professionals by maintaining their records in a secure database.