How this teacher and double Brenau graduate found her strength after waking up from a coma

After recovering from a traumatic head injury, Rynna Kidd was told by her specialist that she would never graduate from college.

Today, Kidd is nearly 24 years into her education career and three years away from receiving her doctorate at Brenau.

“I’m very driven, and I’m very self-motivated,” Kidd said. “But, when someone tells you that you can’t do something, you definitely want to prove them wrong. Now, I want to finish this degree. That just makes it that much more special.”

Shortly into her first year of her undergraduate program, Kidd was the victim of a car accident, one that caused the vehicle she was in to go airborne and slam into a telephone pole.

“The bar that goes between the window and door that holds the windshield in, my head’s impression was in those two bars. I only had head injuries,” Kidd said. “ … When they got me out of the car, I was bleeding from my nose and my mouth, and I was unconscious.”

Kidd remained in a coma for 14 days. She doesn’t remember the incident, nor most of what happened while she was hospitalized. Most of her accounts were formed from stories shared by her friends and family.

While recovering at home, Kidd slept for 20-22 hours a day. She said she didn’t quite return to herself until her family took a trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, when she shared tender moment with her mother, which caused her to break down.

“I had no emotion whatsoever up to that point,” she recounted. “My mom said there was a sparkle in my eye. You could tell that I was really back. I kept my family up until 2 a.m. that night asking what had happened to me and where I was. I didn’t remember anything.”

For two years, Kidd visited with a neuropsychologist in the Atlanta area to help get her life back on track. When she was officially released from rehabilitation, Kidd said the specialist told her she would never graduate from college.

“And, so I enrolled at Brenau in September of ‘89, and I graduated in ‘93,” she said. “I had gotten married while I was in college, and was pregnant with my first child when I graduated. I continued to get my master’s degree at Brenau.”

Over the past 24 years Kidd has taught third and fourth grade, and served as an assistant principal at two separate schools. More recently, she has worked in her hometown at Gainesville Middle School as a special education self-contained teacher, overseeing a classroom of sixth and eighth graders.

Kidd said she recently decided to pursue an education doctorate at Brenau while working full-time, not for financial reasons, but for personal growth.

“The monetary portion is not really a motivator for me, it’s just that she said I couldn’t,” she added.

Kidd, who is also a grandmother, said her students make all her efforts as a teacher worth it. She has worked in Gainesville City Schools long enough to watch many of them move into high school.

“Those kids just have something special about them, and you want to do so much for them,” she said. “Just seeing them be successful has just made such a difference for me.”