Special education teacher in Jacksonville finds second calling in competitive powerlifting



Teri Ivey, a special education teacher in Jacksonville who also competes in powerlifting, poses with an impressive collection of medals she's received in her short lifting career.


© Provided by Tyler-Longview KLTV
Teri Ivey, a special education teacher in Jacksonville who also competes in powerlifting, poses with an impressive collection of medals she’s received in her short lifting career.

JACKSONVILLE, Texas (KLTV) – During school hours, Teri Ivey is a Special Education teacher in Jacksonville who devotes her attention to her students. After hours, she spends her time focusing on another passion, one of which involves focusing on nearly every muscle in her body: competitive powerlifting.

In Oct. 2018, Ivey was invited to participate in the Muscles for Miracles charity competition.

“Actually I just went to go do it for the fun of it. Never thought it would lead to where it’s gone in the past two years,” Ivey said.

She won the event, and people took notice.

“I said, ‘Oh my goodness, I can’t believe this chick is doing this,’” said Robert ‘Bull’ Doherty, friend and professional powerlifter.

She began to train professionally, and after just last year in her first competitive meet, she qualified to compete against the best lifters in the world at Mr. Olympia. There, she broke the world record for her Master’s class division by benching 185 lbs.

She quickly earned a nickname for herself among her fellow lifters.

“She coined the name Tinkerbell at one of the most hardcore meets in the world,” Doherty laughed. “She came in as little old Teri with all these big mean powerlifters and she prances right up and out lifts half of the people at the meet.”



In her first competitive meet, Ivey qualified to compete against the best lifters in the world at Mr. Olympia. There, she broke the world record for her Master’s class division in bench press.


© Provided by Tyler-Longview KLTV
In her first competitive meet, Ivey qualified to compete against the best lifters in the world at Mr. Olympia. There, she broke the world record for her Master’s class division in bench press.

Ivey has also taught for the past 27 years, and she’s worked in special education for the past three years.

“If I do say that I’m a teacher they immediately think ‘well, you’re a PE teacher.’ And whenever I tell them I teach special ed it’s kind of a shocker for them,” Ivey said. “Seeing the determination that it takes my students to work and to succeed really pushes me.”

Both Ivey and Doherty said it’s an honor for them to use their strength to fundraise for different charities.

“To have the ability to outlift dang near anybody at the competition, in her class or in classes that are open, a more able class, in my opinion, is just amazing to have that in your heart to want to give back,” Doherty added.

Ivey will be back competing in Mr. Olympia Pro Invitational and she’s feeling confident and ready to bring home another world record. Right now, she’s training to squat at least 300 lbs., which would clear her personal record, by the end of next year.

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