“As a first generation college student and product of a single-parent home, I understand the sacrifices that my mother made every day that motivated me to make my life better. My Athens State experience allowed me to complete my Bachelor of Science degree in education with the help of a foundation scholarship.”

A graduate of Tuscumbia, Alabama City schools, Dr. Fred Abernathy (Class of 2000) realized early on the impact that educators have on the lives of those students who pass through their doors. “I had teachers who really cared about the total student. It was during this time that my dream began to become an educator.”

After receiving an associate’s degree in Pre-Secondary Education, Fred began his journey at Athens State University in the fall of 1998 pursuing a degree in Collaborative/Special Education and living on campus. He graduated in 2000 but continued to live on campus as our dorm director. In 2000, Fred went to work at Decatur City Schools where he has taught special education and coached basketball at both the middle school and high school levels. He is currently the assistant principal at Decatur High School.

Dr. Abernathy is now the proud holder of a doctoral degree in Executive Leadership, along with master’s degrees in Educational Administration, Instructional Leadership, and Special Education, and an Educational Specialist degree in Special Education. He sums up his journey by stating, “I have always had people to help me, and I want to live in a world where others are always willing to help, regardless of the situation.”