Just when educators feel that their jobs can’t get any harder, they do. Teachers have met daily challenges including filling in for colleagues because of a substitute teacher shortage and helping students recover from learning loss which resulted from the educational changes the past two years. Despite these challenges, teachers are still changing students’ lives daily—believing in all children, pushing students to challenge themselves, showing Anderson County students just how much they matter. So, it was refreshing to see, at the Anderson County March board meeting, some of those teachers recognized for their impact; it was a well-deserved moment in the spotlight.
Each year, the administrators in the various schools within the district, often with input from the teachers within their building, choose a teacher for this recognition based upon quality of instruction as well as his or her dedication to students. The following teachers were recognized as Anderson County Schools’ 2021-2022 Teachers of the Year:
Monica Rice - Saffell Street Elementary School. Rice has taught all twenty-two years of her career at Saffell Street Elementary. According to Rice, the most effective trait an educator can have is the ability to build strong relationships with students; even the most reluctant learners are willing to try if they know their teacher cares about them. Ms. Rice cares an incredible amount about each student who steps foot into her classroom.
Ashley Coleman - Ezra Sparrow Early Childhood Center. Coleman has been at ECC for four years of her eleven year career as an educator. Coleman knows that what makes a teacher effective comes down to setting clear and fair expectations, being prepared as well as positive and patient, and meeting the needs of all students in her classroom. Coleman said the most rewarding part of her job is seeing students grow both academically and socially throughout the school year.
Elizabeth Harris - Robert B. Turner Elementary School. Harris has been a teacher in Anderson County for half of her teaching career: five of her ten years in education. What makes her career so special for Harris is more than the content she loves to teach. She says that the most rewarding part about teaching is the relationships she gets to build not only with her students but also with her co-workers in Anderson County Schools.
Ami Wilcox - Emma B. Ward Elementary School. Wilcox has been teaching for fifteen years, all of which have been in Anderson County. Wilcox is passionate about seeing her students succeed. She gets excited when they learn new skills and begin to believe in themselves. In fact, when thinking about the greatest reward of being a teacher, Wilcox stated, “I hope my greatest influence on my students is that they know they are forever my students. No matter where they move on to or how old they get, they will always be special to me and I am there for them.”
Todd Moudy - Anderson County High School. Moudy has been at Anderson County High School for all twelve years of his teaching career. It was in his time as a youth leader alongside his wife that Moudy realized how much he loved mentoring young men and women: a realization that led to his choice of profession. Moudy noted of his students, “I hope I can influence them to be better people. I want them to learn how to love and respect others, but also to learn the skills necessary to go out and be productive members of their community.”
Brian Holloman - APEX Academy. For the past twenty-one years, Holloman has been an educator in Anderson County Schools. Holloman loves when he sees previously struggling students become successful, even when they themselves did not believe it was possible. But, the most rewarding part according to Holloman is “seeing my former students out and about in the community. I love running into them, meeting their families, and knowing just maybe I had a little to do with them making it.”
Taylor Wilson - Anderson County Middle School. Wilson has been a teacher for five years, three of which have been in Anderson County. Students love learning in Ms. Wilson’s room because she takes a hands-on approach by incorporating as many projects as possible. Her students just finished a simulation of the Oregon Trail (like the old video game) where they had to budget out money, food, and supplies for their group, all while trying to make it to Oregon City with their group members surviving. The students had a great time with it. It is projects like these that make each day fun for Wilson and for her students.
Anderson County is fortunate to have such strong and dedicated instructors for our children. In appreciation for their hard work, teachers were given plaques and received a standing ovation at the board meeting. Although teachers do not do the job that they do for recognition, it is nice to hear that the children in our county are better off because of them. These seven teachers are exemplary in their work and they, along with all the teachers in the district, deserve recognition for their work ethic and for the never-ending love they show toward the children in our community.