'Tasha' Murray, a Palm Beach County native, plans to take what she learned in the military into a different kind of public service.

Wytashanika Drummer Murray decided she wasn't done serving when she left the U.S. Army. So with a little help, the veteran and Palm Beach County native is scheduled soon to carry a different banner: that of a certified teacher.

Murray, one of the many veterans America will honor Sunday, is just months away from earning her teaching degree, paid for by the G.I. Bill and obtained through TEACH-NOW, a national online teacher certification outfit.

The 32-year-old wife and mother of two daughters, 10 and 7 months, already is a "paraprofessional" in the school system in the Savannah, Ga., area, where her unit had been based at nearby Fort Stewart, she said last week.

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"Tasha" Murray grew up in West Palm Beach and Riviera Beach and attended W.T. Dwyer High School in Palm Beach Gardens, then finished high school in Albany, Ga., in 2003. After taking some college classes in childhood education, she joined the Army in 2006.

She would spend four years of active duty and four in reserve. In Afghanistan, she was an ammunition specialist in the Kandahar region, where "incoming" was heard regularly.

Was it dicey?

"Yeah. Uh, yeah," she said grimly. Then, "but you kind of get used to it."

But she also said she's dealt with PTSD.

But she also managed, while deployed, to take online classes toward an Associate of Arts degree in early childhood education, which she completed at Palm Beach State College.

She then worked for two years at the VA Medical Center in Riviera Beach, helping employees earn GEDs and counseling veterans on their benefits. After that: a few months at Family Central, a nonprofit that did bookkeeping for daycare centers around Palm Beach County. When it lost its contract with the county, she was out. That was in 2016. She then spent two years as an activities coordinator with Palm Beach Habilitation Center.

Soon she realized she wanted to make that move to teaching. But the path wasn't easy. She said she struggled with the Florida Teacher Certification Examination, failing one time by just one point. Around that time, she and her family — she'd just had her second daughter — moved to Georgia.

"I said, 'I have VA benefits left. I Googled, 'teacher certification for veterans.' TEACH-NOW was the first one that popped up."

TEACH-NOW, founded in 2011 by Emily Feistritzer, once a nun and now an entrepreneur, said it has graduated more than 1,250 teachers across 80 countries, with plans to train 10,000 new teachers over the next four years. It said clients can work online and also in concert with the military.

Murray said beside the free schooling, she also was able to use the GI Bill to help with a housing allowance.

But she was jobless, helping to run a family, scrambling to pay the bills and now trying get certified. But, she said, "the military prepares you to handle more than one thing."

Soon she'd gotten work in the local school system in Savannah's Chatham County, working in early childhood — pre-kindergarten to fifth grade. But she still needed certification to become a regular teacher, with all the benefits, pay and tenure that goes with that.

"I discussed that with the principal, and she said, 'Oh yeah. I can see that in you,' " Murray said.

She's set to finish in April.

She hopes to continue in early childhood. "I love kindergarten, so I want to stay there," she said.

And her advice to fellow vets who might be in motivational "neutral":

"Part of the ethos of the military is, 'Always place the mission first, never accept defeat, never quit and never leave a fallen comrade.' I take that everywhere I go."

She said she tells others, "Remember those warrior ethos and take charge."