CROCKETT, Texas (KETK) – Mayor of Crockett, mentor, ordained minister, dedicated philanthropist and longtime educator– this remarkable woman holds many titles with one main motivator.
“I’m motivated by my relationship with God and He wants me to love people,” Dr. Ianthia Fisher said.
Fisher is a driving force in her community, but she is sure to give credit to the remarkable women in her life who led by example, showing the incredible impact of investing your time and encouragement into another person.
This started all the way back in elementary school, when she was put into a special education class for a perceived speech impediment.
“I don’t know how to delicately say it, but a lot of the African American students, it was assumed that they were slow,” Fisher said.
Things changed for Fisher after one teacher took time to speak to her in person.
“She said, ‘You know what, this baby is smart. I don’t know what you’re doing, but you need to get out of here right now.’ And she became my favorite teacher,” Fisher recalled.
Fisher’s mother, a single woman who raised her six children on the foundation of God, family, education and community, is a driving force in her life.
“My mother, she’s Superwoman,” Fisher said of her mother.
A devoted Christian and minister, she taught her children that even in their darker moments, there’s always room to be grateful to God.
“So that gave us a foundation where you’re never without, even though it appears that you were in a poverty situation,” she said.
She said poverty was temporary and did not define you.
“She said, if you want something better, you fix it yourself,” Fisher said.
That’s exactly what her mother did, working three to four jobs at a time to provide for her family.
“She’d leave one job and come in and sleep about 10 minutes, and go out,” Fisher said.
Her mother also emphasized the power of knowledge.
“She believed in education, so it was never a point where you weren’t going to be educated,” Fisher said.
Her belief in education turned into a passion for Fisher and her siblings.
“Four of us have doctorates and my other sister has a couple of degrees too,” Fisher said. “My brother writes the newspaper, African American newspapers.”
Reinvesting into your community was the fourth pillar of Fisher’s childhood foundation.
“My mother always said, you can’t help anybody if you don’t know what they need,” Fisher said. “So you need to educate yourself, and prepare yourself in such a way that you’ll be able to help somebody.”
Fisher has done just that, pouring her love for education into helping people rise above their circumstance from a family literacy program with teenage parents, to working with at-risk youth.
She said the standards set for testing, curriculum and expectations in the modern school system often get in the way of crucial student-educator relationships.
“We really underestimate what they’re capable of,” Fisher said. “Sometimes the discipline and the behavior gets so upfront that you never really get to know the person.”
Because Fisher invested time into her students, many still keep in touch with her to this day.
After dedicating more than four decades of her life to the Crockett community, Fisher is now wrapping up her second term as mayor. She was the first African-American elected to lead the city and credits her doctorate degree in educational leadership as a major help in moving the city forward.
“We had wasted so much time on frivolous stuff, that we didn’t take care of business,” Fisher said.
She prioritizes addressing discourse with respect, or as Fisher says, “learning how to disagree without destruction.” She acknowledges that conflict is inevitable, but as her mother always said:
“If you’re holding a grudge and making sure that you go get even with people, you’re wasting your time because they don’t even know that you’re even upset most of the time,” Fisher said.
She added there’s only one thing in her life that makes her remarkable.
“The solid foundation that I was a sinner saved by grace,” Fisher said.