Our inclusion teacher is uniquely tasked with teaching alongside general education teachers throughout the day. These two teachers work together to give students the help they need in order to achieve academic growth in our program. In an inclusive classroom, various co-teaching and supportive techniques are implemented in the classroom to foster academic and social growth.
I was hired to be the Academic Coach at Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School in the fall of 2011 and accepting the position was one of the best professional decisions I ever made. As I embark on my 23rd year of teaching, I am incredibly blessed to have a career about which I am truly passionate. Every day I am given the opportunity to teach alongside my best friends in a positive work environment where laughter is the norm. My students include young adults who may not have had the best experience in traditional school, as well as those who come from hard places. Through it all, I’ve seen these young men and women experience incredible success through their own hard work, determination and perseverance. It truly is the high point of the cycle when I get to celebrate with students as they receive confirmation that their hard work has paid off and they obtain their GED. It’s not an easy job, but MAN…..it’s an awesome job!!
My educational journey began with teachers who encouraged me, saw the best in me, and instilled within me the love of learning. After graduating from high school, I earned my B.A. in Elementary Education from the University of South Carolina and received my Master’s Degree in Special Education from Converse College with certifications in Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Learning Disabilities and Emotional Disabilities. I later took classes from Columbia College to complete the requirements for a Master’s +30.
I began my teaching career at Bates Middle and Alcorn Middle schools - both of which provided me with invaluable experiences; however, very early in my journey, I felt a calling to work with high school-aged students. I accepted a teaching position at Swansea High School in Lexington School District Four where I taught in the Occupational Diploma program for six years, implemented the Teacher Cadet program, and was the Yearbook advisor for a year. In 2003-2004, I was named SHS Teacher of the Year at which time I left the classroom to become the Transition Specialist and subsequently, the CATE Director. I made some incredible memories during my twelve years, and I will always cherish my time at Swansea High School.
Family and church are both very important to me, and I am passionate about serving others. I am active with my church’s mission ministry, having traveled numerous times to Belize and Russia with mission teams to serve the children in both areas of the world. I also find great joy in volunteering with Special Olympics - which I have done for over 20 years. A fun fact about me is that I am a nationally certified American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter. During the summers, I work at Camp Wonder Hands, a camp for Deaf and hard of hearing children and teens. In my free time, you’ll find me attending USC football games, hanging out with the whole family on Lake Wateree, spending time with friends or traveling to new locations to try out the best restaurants ☺
Teaching affords me the opportunity to do what I love every single day - to give back as a way of saying thank you for all that has been given to me, as well as to pay it forward so that others might experience the joy of learning.
“When you get, give. When you learn, teach.” - Dr. Maya Angelou