GED State Relationship Manager Jonna McDonough Forsyth shares details about her work with the GED test program.
How long have you been working with GED Testing Service?
I joined the State Relationship team at GEDTS six months ago.
How do you support the GED test program as a GED State Relationship Manager? What states do you work with in this role?
As a State Relationship Manager, I have the pleasure of working within a community of professionals across the country who work to ensure adults without a high school diploma can succeed with the GED exam. I collaborate with State Administrators, as well as professionals in adult education and workforce to improve opportunities and outcomes. I get to do this work in the states of Washington, Oklahoma, Texas and Mississippi.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
I spend most days connecting with various stakeholders, including adult education programs and literacy nonprofits, to share information and provide professional development in promoting student success with the GED exam. In these COVID-19 days, this means more webinars and video conference calls, than the face to face time I usually enjoy with our partners.
What do you enjoy most about your job so far?
I have to say, there isn’t much I don’t enjoy about this work. I truly believe when you have the opportunity to do work that speaks to your life’s purpose, you can’t help but enjoy it. That said, what I enjoy most is to learn from and collaborate with a network of professionals all working toward the same common goal.
.What kind of work did you do before coming to GED Testing Service?
I’ve worked in adult education and high school equivalency for six years before joining the GED team. I also taught ELA for five years, and I worked with adults with developmental disabilities to develop services and supports to ensure they live and work in their home communities.
Where is your hometown?
That’s a complicated question for a military brat. I was born in San Jose, CA, and moved around quite a bit as a kid. After graduating high school, northern California became my home until I moved to San Antonio,Texas fifteen years ago. I’ve called San Antonio my second home ever since.
Who is the best teacher you have ever had? Why?
I’ve been blessed with so many great teachers, any one of them could be considered my “best” for a number of reasons. However, my first “best” teacher was my third grade teacher, Miss Stone. Her background was in music and the arts. She brought that kind of creativity to the classroom.
Who and/or what have been your strongest influences in life?
At the risk of sounding corny, my parents, and the life they gave us living in the US and Europe as kids. They taught us to value hard work, education, and service to others. They saw education as an opportunity for us. Those values have driven my career decisions for the last two decades.
What is your favorite book?
My favorite book is the first book of required reading I actually read in high school: To Kill a Mockingbird.
What kinds of hobbies and interests do you have outside of work?
I live on a farm, so I spend a lot of time doing farm chores when I’m not at work. I also really love to travel, cook, quilt and spend time with my extended family.
What are some must-have items or activities that have kept you entertained during social distancing restrictions?
I’ve discovered some new podcasts, and I’m a new Hulu customer.
What are two things still on your bucket list?
Learning to ride a horse and a trip to Costa Rica.