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“One nice thing about Averett,” says Dr. Tonja Locklear, “is that when I was a student here, we could walk down the street or through the halls, and everyone called you by name. Even the faculty. And that’s still the way it is today.”

She explains that after high school, she could have attended a large state school, but she’s very glad that she chose Averett: “There is no doubt that I would have gotten lost in a large setting. Averett gives students a small community, a hometown feel with personal attention and a real support system.”

Locklear adds this: “Our faculty and staff are so dedicated that students who are focused and energized can REALLY take off from here.”

She’s very quick to add that the students have to do the work themselves: “We work hard to make sure we’re helping you learn …  and learn how to learn. We all try to set the example that learning is lifelong.”

Locklear embodies that principle, having gone on to earn both a master’s and a doctorate, and still continuing to do research, make presentations and write for scholarly publications.

Her primary dedication, though, remains teaching. “Teaching is a calling,” she states simply, “and I love it.” By the 9th grade, she knew she wanted to be a teacher. Now she teaches freshmen students and other Averett students who are going to be teachers themselves.

She has advice for those who might be considering enrolling at Averett, four helpful points to know in advance.

  1. Danville — get to know it. It’s not huge, but it’s also not really small. It is a family-oriented place, not a club town.
  2. Averett is small, and your professors will know you and work with you one-on-one.
  3. You’ll meet and interact with people from different cultures, from all over the country and the world.
  4. Everyone at Averett University is really eager to help you be successful.
Expanding on the last point, she says: “Averett is a teaching institution, and there will always be someone here to reach out to if you need help, no matter what the problem is. That’s what good teaching is — giving help and counsel.”


ABD: mathematics education, University of Kentucky.

Master of Science: mathematics, Wake Forest University.

Bachelor of Arts: mathematics with teacher licensure at the secondary level, Averett University.