AUGUSTA (WJBF) – The Richmond County School System’s Teacher of the Year has been selected to fly with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds as part of their “Hometown Hero” program that honors deserving local people, Augusta Air Show officials announced on Tuesday.

Friday, May 12th, C.T. Walker Magnet School’s Shikara Willis will get to experience the ride of her life in the backseat of an F-16 with Thunderbird #8 Capt. Jeffrey “Simmer” Downie as her pilot.

“I am incredibly excited and honored to be given this opportunity,” said Willis.

Willis has been an educator for 19 years and currently is a fifth-grade English language arts teacher. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in early childhood education, a Master’s in reading and literacy, and a Specialist in advanced studies. She also has a gifted endorsement and English of Second Languages (ESOL) endorsement which allows her to provide the challenging instruction that her students need as she guides them to think outside of the box while still providing all students with an equitable education. 

Willis is active in her school and community, serving on the instructional leadership team, data team, and is an Augusta University clinical teacher, where she assists perspective educators as they complete their student teaching. She received the Richmond County Retired Educator’s Scholarship which allowed her to continue her educational studies and was also accepted into and completed the GenCyber Teacher Training Camp, Future Leaders Academy, and the Governor’s School Leadership Academy Teacher Leader Program.

Outside of school, Willis volunteers with Brown Girls Code, an organization working toward closing the gender and diversity gap in technology, and with the Golden Harvest Food Bank.

The Augusta Air Show will be held at Augusta Regional Airport, May 13th & 14th.