For the last eight years, Capuchine "Capi" Powell has been a fixture within the halls of the Grove Early Childhood Center.

In the fall of 2010, Powell began volunteering at the school as her daughter, Alexis, began classes as a pre-kindergarten. 

Since then she has served as a long-term substitute, a general substitute and as Linda Adams' teaching assistant.

This year, as Alexis begins the seventh grade, Powell has made a change. Using the state's emergency certification program she will start off the year as one of the district's newest pre-kindergarten teacher.

"I like being with children and watching them learn something new," Powell said. "I love the innocence in kids. They aren't tainted.

"[Teaching] is like sitting at the kids' table forever. It's happy."

Powell said she's excited to join the ECC staff in this new role. 

"I just like the camaraderie," she said. "The teachers are great. It just feels like a good place to be."

Powell, who has a bachelor's of fine arts degree from the University of Tulsa, as well as a minor in art history and certification in Native American studies, will take three tests during the course of this year, to obtain her teaching certification. 

Those tests include the Oklahoma General Education Teacher's Test, the Oklahoma Professional Teaching Exam and a subject test within Early Childhood Education.

When finished, Powell will be licensed to teach pre-kindergarten through third grade.

"I felt like with my degree, [this method] was a step in the right direction," Powell said. "Going the alternative route is not an easier route."

Powell said she believes her last few years as a substitute and teacher's assistant, has given her a hands-on learning process.

"I've learned from Julie and all of the teachers," Powell said. "It feels like I've had a three year internship.

"I still have a lot to learn, but I don't think it will hinder me. I'm open to learning anything I can."

Initially, Powell said, she wanted to be a graphic designer and take on New York. 

"Instead my path led me to Grove and the kids," Powell said. "And it's happy."

Powell said life has taught her, that "it's ok to change the path that you are on" regardless of age. 

Powell said she's passionate about helping children not only learn, but have fun doing so.  

"I'm looking forward to watching them learn new things and introducing them to new things," she said, adding there's something amazing about watching a child learn to read their first word.

Rather than picking a single theme, Powell has decorated her first classroom with bright colors. She plans to incorporate an assortment of art and music within the lessons.

On the first day, she plans to use an art project to get her students to share about their lives.

"I want to know what they are like, and what they like, so we can connect throughout the year," Powell said. "I want to expose them to everything I can, and have fun."

As a new teacher, Powell has been getting advice from multiple people - including her daughter.

"I told her not to be stressed out," Alexis said with a smile. "There's going to be many kids in the room, and she has to stay focused. 

"She's going to show them more of the world than what they see at home."