After ten years of teaching in the Dallas, Texas public schools. Ballew was more than ready for a change. "I just wanted to get out of the public school system," Ballew says. "I had been through quite a bit over the ten years I taught and felt like I'd never be able to teach under those worsening conditions until I retired. In the fall of 1999, a turning point in my life, a student hit me while I was walking him to the office for fighting in my room. He was only suspended for a few weeks, and the administration tried to put him back in my class on his return." At the end of that school year, Ballew tendered her resignation. Luckily for her, she had begun the process of earning her first IT certification process the previous January.
Since then, Ballew has acquired an MCSE, an MCT, and an A+ certification. Ballew says, "I started this trek in January of 1999, and by December of 1999 I had my MCSE and my A+. I didn't have a job, but I didn't care; I knew I'd find one. From January of 2000 to the present, I've used my knowledge and certifications to become a published author and college professor and change careers completely. I am often way out of my comfort zone, but I just keep pressing along."
She is also a published author and trainer. "I have written for and continue to write for Swynk.com (Darien, Conn.), Syngress Media (Rockland, Mass.), Osborne (Osborne/McGraw-Hill, Berkeley, Calif.), and other smaller projects such as writing questions for BrainBuzz.com (Tampa, Fla.) and a little ghost writing for other Internet sites. I teach classes such as Intro to MCSE, PC Maintenance Basics, and PC System Troubleshooting. I plan to teach a class at Eastfield Community College (Dallas, Texas) this spring (2001) using the book I wrote, Windows 2000 Professional Test Yourself, for a test preparation class," Ballew says.
As a current MCSE, Ballew faces the challenge of upgrading her certification to the new Windows 2000 requirements; she has already passed her first test on the way to Microsoft Windows 2000 certification. It was much more difficult than the previous exams she'd taken.