Educator Dr. Anjell Harris Edwards has spent most of her career around children, but her top priority is making sure she is having a positive impact on the ones she is raising.
Tell me about yourself.
My name is Anjell Harris Edwards. I am proud to say I was born and raised in Birmingham. I grew up in West End. I attended Powderly Elementary, Jackson Elementary, and Ramsay High School. After completing my undergraduate studies at The University of Alabama, I went on to earn several advanced degrees in the field of education. Most recently, I earned a doctorate in educational leadership from Samford University. I currently serve as an assistant principal at an area middle school. I’m a 46-year-old married, mother of two. My son, EJ, will soon be 14 years old and my daughter, Rhyan, recently turned 10. My husband, Marcus Edwards, and I have been married for almost 19 years. We will celebrate our anniversary on August 22.
What do you want your children to learn from your life?
Goodness! There are so many days where I wonder if I’m getting it right as a mom. You know what I mean? I have days where I hope I’m doing them more good than harm. As a mom, I make mistakes daily. However, I hope my children are learning to be good, honest, hard-working people. I want them to learn that hard work and dedication are keys to success. I want them to know that nothing comes easily and that whatever one sets his/her mind to, it can be done. I want them to know and appreciate the value of perseverance. In addition to that, I want them both to know that one can never be too kind to another human being. I try to set that example for them daily. I truly believe in the Golden Rule. I always try my best to treat others as I expect to be treated. Hopefully, my children see that and will do the same as they progress through life.
What are the best and worst things about living in Birmingham?
I absolutely love living in Birmingham. Some people may hear me say that and think, Really? LOL! However, it’s true. I’m a big-time family girl! I love being with my family. So, the best thing about living here is that this is where my roots are. I lost my dad when I was just a baby, and my mom passed when I was 27, so it’s important for me to be close to my extended family. I live only 30 minutes away from my nearest relative in Birmingham. That’s very comforting to me.
If I had to pick the “worst” thing about living in Birmingham it would be the slow night life. On the rare occasions that my husband and I do decide to go out for a night on the town, our options tend to be limited. It seems that everything closes early. However, I feel that things are looking up. I’m very excited about some of the newest developments in Birmingham.
If you could change one thing about Birmingham, what would it be and why?
If I could change one thing about Birmingham, it would be the negative perception others have of our city. Birmingham has an ugly, dark past, but I think we have made great strides to rise above all of the pain of our past.
What is your proudest mom moment?
I am always proud of my kids. I’m proud when they excel academically and proud when they excel in their chosen sports. However, my proudest moments came when they each decided to invite Christ into their lives. For me, those moments were proof that my husband and I are doing something right. I want my children to live lives pleasing to God. Being able to witness them confess Christ and then be baptized truly warmed my heart.
What is your proudest wife moment?
It makes me proud to meet someone who knows my husband. When I meet people who know him, if I tell them I’m Marcus’ wife, the next sentence from their mouths is something like, “Awww, Marcus is such a good guy.” That makes me proud. It speaks so much of his character. My husband really is one of the “good guys,” and it makes me proud that others recognize that in him.
What advice do you have for women juggling a career with raising kids?
I’ll start by saying, it’s not easy! LOL! Whew! Some days, I feel as if I don’t know whether I’m coming or going. Trying to balance work with all of the many activities my kids are in is challenging. However, I find it helpful to prioritize and keep a very accurate calendar/schedule. My husband and I synchronize our schedules and work together to make sure all bases are covered. Sometimes, we have to divide and conquer, but we always make sure that each kid has a parent there to support and cheer them on. I also sync my personal calendar with my work calendar. As an assistant principal, I often work late hours supervising extracurricular activities at school. At the beginning of each school year, I make sure none of those activities clash with things my kids are doing. So far, it has worked well. So, in short, my advice to any working mom would be for her to plan ahead and keep a very accurate calendar. It is also helpful to have someone you can trust on standby just in case of an unforeseen conflict.
What’s next for Anjell Harris Edwards?
I believe God has something greater planned for me in regards to my professional life. I believe He’s preparing me for the next level. I’m waiting for Him to move. I am also thinking long and hard about starting a small business. Also, since earning my doctorate, I’ve had some interest in being an adjunct professor at a local junior college or university. There are many wheels turning in my head. We will see where God leads.