Kellie Blair Hardt is an adjunct faculty member and math instructor at Montgomery College’s GED program in Rockville, Maryland.
She is the founder of Hardt2Heart Tutoring Service for adult learners and has over 20 years of experience as a middle and high school math, science, and technology instructor.
Kellie is a GED graduate and is driven by her desire to educate and mentor high school and adult learners of color and students with learning disabilities. She relates her own education experiences during her youth dealing with parental abandonment, homelessness, and ultimately high school expulsion.
As a GED graduate and instructor, what advice do you have for fellow educators looking for ways to motivate their learners?
Allow students to motivate us first. It is the beginning of a genuine relationship of trust and connections; it is a bridge that bonds the gap between teaching and learning. As educators, we want our learners to trust us with shaping their life decisions around education and outcomes of it. We all know that achieving a GED may not be the number one priority for most learners, especially for underserved or underrepresented populations. We can all help our learners prioritize education by intertwining teaching and learning with reciprocal mentorship and motivation. All educators and learners share at least one thing in common; the desire and feeling of worthiness to self and others. We can provide that to each other with genuine connections. That is how we are to achieve sustainable motivation.
What do GED students need most to succeed?
The ability to change perspective. We need to understand that true success does not come from scoring a 145 on four different academic subject areas alone. A GED provides academic, career, and life skills on a continuous level of education. It will take time and sometimes failures to be successful. I used to think that being successful meant I had to “keep pushing forward.” The word “forward” indicates a movement that is always in front of us. It suggests that we experience success in only one direction. It also gives us a sense that we cannot take a break, nor revaluate how we look at successes, change our course, and failure will halt success.
In my story, only my “keep pushing forward” experiences are highlighted as a success. You never hear about my several failures while trying to obtain my GED, nor the shortcomings of my college and career experiences after earning a GED. We need to understand that learning from failure is a success too. We need to know that changing directions when we know we need to, is a success.
What do you find most rewarding about the work that you do?
I like to call it that “ah-ha!” moment when students connect with me by understanding how and why I do what I do. It is that moment that combines education with their own “keep accelerating” moments. It means more than getting a math problem correct. It is understanding the learning process and applying it to everything. It’s rewarding to make a difference in the classroom by forging positive relationships and connections with one student at a time.
What excites you the most about being a member of the GED Board of Directors?
It is exciting to provide the perspective of learners and educators in the same setting. Particularly in an environment that is so close to my heart, I have an opportunity that represents my passion. It is exhilarating to know this position is more than just a recognition of my educational success. I feel valued for my thoughts, ideas, revelations, concerns, eagerness to collaborate and learn from others while feeling comfortable being my true self. I feel very fortunate for this opportunity; it is truly an honor.
What hobbies/activities do you appreciate outside of your work?
My own childhood experiences evoke the desire to be with my daughter as much as we can. I cherish all our time together, even with small things like just going for a car ride down the street. I’m also extremely grateful to understand the meaning of unconditional love for a spouse. A love my husband has provided since our first date. I cherish our time together, even the small things like watching an episode of a series we both like. I also love to draw, paint, crochet, coach middle, and high school step-teams and play in axe-throwing competitions. Yes, I throw axes for sport.
Kellie Blair Hardt Full Bio
Kellie Blair Hardt is an adjunct faculty member and math instructor at Prince George’s Community College’s GED program in Largo, Maryland. She is the founder of Hardt2Heart Tutoring Service for adult learners and has over 20 years of experience as a middle and high school math, science, and technology instructor. Kellie joined the GED Board of Directors in 2021.
Kellie is a GED graduate and is driven by her desire to educate and mentor high school and adult learners of color and students with learning disabilities. She relates her own education experiences during her youth dealing with parental abandonment, homelessness, and ultimately high school expulsion. Kellie has received several awards for her accomplishments, including the Cornelius P. Turner Award from GED Testing Service.
Kellie earned her GED credential through Harper’s Ferry Job Corps, a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Virginia Tech and a Master’s in Special Education from George Mason University. She is a Washington, DC native and currently resides in Northern Virginia with her husband, Jason, and daughter, Katrina.
*This article was updated on 10/6/2022