BCS Teachers of the Year 2015
Lee Cain: North Brooks Elementary School
District Teacher of the Year 2015-2016
A native of Brooks County, Cain has been teaching for 27 years in the same district that she herself attended in her adolescence. “The name and building have changed, but it is still the same school to me,” says Cain.
It was in the first grade that Cain realized that her passion was to be a music teacher. “We had a music teacher who would come once a week to our school and play songs on a dusty, old upright piano. We would sing, laugh and forget the troubles of the day,” says Cain. For her, there was something about everyone singing together that was more than just singing, it was magical. She hopes that her students feel the same way in her classroom.
Cain believes that it is important for teachers to possess the qualities in their teaching that they would like to see in their students. “We want our students to be life-long learners, so we must be open to new ideas and willing to learn new things. We want our students to be compassionate, so we must model kindness and sensitivity in front of them,” says Cain. Cain further mentions that many teachers desire for students to be creative and think outside the box and in that, teachers must also present lessons in creative and engaging ways. She says, “We want our students to grow up to be productive citizens in their communities, so they need to see us doing our part to make our community better.”
Cain is fully aware that not every student she teaches will be or desire to be a musician however, her hope that each of them are musical enough stand and sing the National Anthem at a football game, clap or ta along their favorite song on the radio or at church, and sing as they rock their children to sleep.
Being named the NBES Teacher of the Year is a wonderful experience for Cain. “It feels wonderful to be chosen by my North Brooks family as Teacher of the Year. We have so many amazing, creative and dedicated teachers at our school; I am constantly learning new things from them, “says Cain. Her goal as she continues her teaching journey is to maintain her excitement for teaching until she decides to retire. “I plan to keep being a strong advocate for quality music education in our schools, I still can’t believe I get to do my absolute favorite thing in the world every day!”
Amanda Wilson: Brooks Co. High School
Amanda Wilson has dedicated six years so far in her teaching career to Brooks County Schools. Moreover, her inspiration to begin teaching came from her child. “I decided to become a teacher after my child was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, as I watched his speech and ABA therapist working with him and making so much progress I wanted to have a career that was rewarding on a more personal level,” says Wilson.
According to Wilson that career is one in which she believes teachers should possess qualities such as patience, intelligences, compassionate and humility. However, perseverance is what she would like her students to possess when they enter and leave her classroom. “It is easy to give up when something is difficult. I want them to know that I believe in them and I want them to believe in themselves also,” she says.
Wilson’s main goal in her service to education is to teach students to think for themselves and be resourceful. “I do not teach to test, I teach to inspire students to want to learn, and rather than telling them the answer, I teach them how to find the answer.”
Brianna Shackelford: Brooks Co. Middle School
As an Educator for only two years at Brooks County Middle School, Ms. Brianna Shackelford is learning how rewarding being a teacher truly is. “As a young child, I can remember playing with my friends- I was so passionate about being a teacher that I had my own gradebook. As a student, I was fortunate to be taught by teachers who were very passionate and who motivated me to do my absolute best.” Shackelford recognizes that it was her teachers who helped her realize that teaching was in her future. She states that because of those teachers she developed a passion for wanting to motivate and encourage children to also find their passion. “When students enter my classroom excited to learn about Math, I know I have accomplished my mission of motivating others,” she states.
Shackelford acknowledges that teaching is much more than being a content expert. In fact she believes that as a teacher, it is important to seek and relate content to students in order to reach all learners. “Having a love and passion for teaching adolescents is necessary, especially at the middle school level. Possessing a caring attitude and maintaining flexibility are also key attributes of an effective teacher,” states Shackelford.
Shackelford wants each student that enters her classroom to leave it knowing how much she has cared for them and for them reaching their full potential. “I also want them to continue to believe in themselves and their ability to do their best at all times because I have motivated them to see the potential they possess,” says Shackelford.
When asked her thoughts on Brooks County Middle choosing her as their Teacher of the Year, Shackelford humbly states, “It is definitely an honor. It is one thing for your students to think highly of you, but having your peers feel the same way is breathtaking.” Shackelford credits the great teachers she works with who share her same passion as another great feeling of being recognized as this upcoming school years BCMS Teacher of the Year.
Shackelford states that her goal is to continue to inspire and motivate her students. “Each year I will continue to perfect my craft by searching for new ways to reach all learners.” Currently, she is pursuing a Master’s degree which will allow her to research and learn from other educators. “To maintain my effectiveness, I realize the imperative nature of remaining a lifelong learner and soaking in what I can, whether it is from my own research or endeavors or if it is learning from others,” she states. For Shackelford, education is constantly evolving and she believes that she must seek resources to maintain her instruction as it is relevant to her students. “I hope to inspire and motivate young children of Brooks County,” states Shackelford.
Joyce Peak: Quitman Elementary School
For Mrs. Joyce Peak, teaching has been her passion since her adolescent years. “When I was in second grade, my teacher, Mrs. Francis Hall was such a kind and caring person, she had the ability to make learning come to life and treated everyone with dignity and respect,” said Peak. That teacher for Peak was one who gave her an insight on the type of teacher and role model she inspired to one day be. “She exhibited a thirst for knowledge so vast that it created hunger in her pupils, I truly felt loved in her classroom,” continued Peak.
Moreover, her five children also inspired her to continue her education due to the desire to further support and assist them with their educational needs. Peak has been teaching for 22 years and loves teaching just as much as she loves children at Quitman Elementary School (QES). “I believe it is essential for all teachers to have a love for children. I am driven by the desire to see them succeed in life and become all that they can be,” said Peak. Peak further states that for her, it is imperative for her students to know that education is very important and that with hard work and determination, all of their dreams are possible. “Life may get hard at times, but if they keep their eyes on the prize it will be worth it in the end,” she says.
Peak says it is an honor to have been chosen as Teacher of the Year from her peers at Quitman Elementary School. “It is truly inspiring to be rewarded for doing what you love,” says Peak. Her goals for the future center around the growth of technology use in the classroom. “The love of technology is what inspired me to pursue a degree in classroom technology, with my classroom technology degree I aspire to work in the computer lab at our school (QES) if the position becomes available in the future,” concludes Peak.
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