Photo caption: Anita Corsini (M.Ed. ’05), host of HGTV’s “Flip or Flop Atlanta” and co-founder of Red Barn Homes, started her career as a math teacher and appreciates what education taught her about thinking on her feet.
story by Claire Miller
It wasn’t until she took an abstract algebra course in college that Anita Corsini (M.Ed. ’05) truly understood what it was like to struggle with a math class.
Corsini was a self-proclaimed math lover who had opted to take two math classes at the same time her sophomore year of high school so she could fit calculus into her senior year class schedule.
She graduated from high school with five math credits instead of the standard four and worked hard to earn her undergraduate math degree. But she’s never forgotten what it felt like to take some of those upper level college math classes and struggle to understand the content.
“If I hadn’t struggled, as a teacher, I wouldn’t have understood my students who struggled,” said Corsini, who spent the first part of her career as a math teacher at two Atlanta-area high schools. “It was the best thing to happen to me.”
She became the math department head at Fellowship Christian High School and wrote the math curriculum when the school was in the accreditation process. But she was also determined to get her master’s degree, so she enrolled in Georgia State University’s College of Education & Human Development a few years into her career so she could continue building on the teaching skills she’d learned in her classroom.
“I had a lot of respect for Clinical Associate Professor Pier Junor Clarke because she taught with these lofty expectations like I did,” Corsini said. “She asked me to come back a year after I graduated to do a workshop with her next cohort and I was so honored to do it.”
After graduating from Georgia State, Corsini taught for a couple more years before she and her husband decided to shift both of their careers into real estate development. They’ve since built a successful real estate development company called Red Barn Homes and became the hosts of HGTV’s “Flip or Flop Atlanta,” a show about buying, renovating and selling houses that has its second season premiere this month.
“Flip or Flop Atlanta is a house-flipping show that tells a story of a transformation. And the house is really the main character; we’re not the main characters,” she explained.
Corsini will be the first to say she’s been fortunate to work in two very different fields that she loves. She also jokes that if a teacher needed her to help teach quadratic equations, she’d grab her old math books and jump right in.
And it’s that ability to think on her feet – a talent she learned in the classroom – that has helped Corsini find success in real estate.
“If you need anything done, hire a former teacher,” she said. “You can communicate, you’re organized, you’ve got to be able to say things a couple of different ways, you can manage expectations, you’re a cheerleader. I would say every skill a teacher has translates to any other job you might have.”