September 25th, 2012
03:37 AM ET

Unlikely teachers find purpose in the classroom

By Julie Hays, CNN

(CNN) - After playing college football, working as a financial aid adviser and earning a master's degree, 25-year-old Andrew Fuller is back in high school.

Fuller is a new teacher at Tri-Cities High School in East Point, Georgia. He made the move from Oregon to Georgia to join Teach for America, a non-profit organization that recruits non-traditional teachers to improve education for children in low-income communities.

Fuller's passion for education stems from his own experience growing up. He was in a special education program from kindergarten to his senior year, and he felt stigmatized and overlooked.

"I never knew why. I never knew my disability," Fuller says. "I never had an IEP, which is an individualized education program. I never had any of those things."

"Just being in the classroom and just knowing that I'd been given up on sometimes, that I'm not receiving the work, it was heartbreaking," he says.

A gifted athlete, Fuller was accepted to the University of Oregon on a football scholarship. He later transferred and finished his college career playing for the Portland State Vikings.

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