Harris' Heroes: Erin Cribbs teaches students to be entrepreneurs

For some kids, a special teacher can be life changing. Erin Cribbs is one of those teachers.

“As a teacher what motivates me is watching my students to succeed,” Cribbs said.

That motivation is what earned her the “teacher of the year” award from the network for teaching entrepreneurship.

Cribbs didn't always plan to teach high school but she's proven she has knack for it. She believes her own background helps her approach students at her alternative school more effectively.

“With the problems we had at the school from the inner city -- I can relate to a lot of their problems that these students had,” she said.

Through an entrepreneurship class at Croom Vocational high school, she's helping students figure out what's next.

“At Croom, some of our students do not want college as a future … so they need to know what they can do for themselves when they graduate, which is starting their own business,” Cribbs explains.

One of those students is 12th grader David Ross, who'd never seriously considered running his own business.

“I always thought about it, but I never really knew,” he said. With Cribbs' encouragment, he entered the business plan competition and won third place out of 920 students.

He and a few classmates credit Ms. Cribbs' no-nonsense teaching style to keeping them on track.

“I do try to challenge her sometimes,” he says, “but Ms. Cribbs pushes back and it's actually better that she does.”

Cribbs says she chose to teach at Croom because she knew she'd be able to make a difference in her students' lives because of the smaller class sizes.

One measure of success: David Ross has already been accepted to a vocational program to become a barber after graduating high school.