AUGUSTA, Ga (WFXG) - Richmond County School System's Teacher of the Year, Shikara Willis, has been selected to fly with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, according to Augusta Air Show Officials. 

It's a part of their "Home Hero" program, which honors deserving local individuals. On Friday at 11:30 am, Willis will get to ride in the backseat of an F-16 with Thunderbird  Capt. Jeffrey "Simmer" Downie as her pilot. 

“I am incredibly excited and honored to be given this opportunity,” said Willis.

Willis has been an educator for 19 years and is currently a fifth-grade English language arts teacher. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in early childhood education, a Master’s in reading and literacy, and a Specialist in advanced studies.

She also has a gifted endorsement and English of Second Languages (ESOL) endorsement, which allows her to provide the challenging instruction that her students need as she guides them to think outside of the box while still providing all students with an equitable education. 

Outside of school, Willis volunteers with Brown Girls Code, an organization working toward closing the gender and diversity gap in technology, and with the Golden Harvest Food Bank.

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will be the featured performer when the Augusta Air Show soars over Augusta Regional Airport, May 13-14.

For more show information, please visit