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Area schools name top educators
If Jennifer Anders had a stronger stomach at the sight of blood, she would not be a teacher today.

"I actually didn't want to be a teacher at first," Anders said. "I wanted to be a nurse."

Then she attempted to work a blood drive during her first year in nursing school.

"When I got sick at a blood drive, I knew I should probably not be a nurse," Anders said.

The nursing profession's loss was Glyndale Elementary's gain.

Anders, a fourth-grade teacher there for seven years, was one of 18 teachers named Teacher of the Year at their schools for the 2012-2013 school year.

The annual recognition is a joint effort by the Glynn County School System and the Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce.

The countywide winner will be named at a reception hosted by the chamber in November and will represent Glynn in district competition.

For Anders, being chosen by her colleagues is proof that she ultimately made the right decision.

"I am extremely honored they chose me. I was completely shocked," Anders said.

The relationship-building aspect of both nursing and teaching is what drew her to both professions. As a teacher, Anders said learning how to reach each student individually is what allows her to be effective.

It is the same approach her favorite teacher took with her when she was in school.

"It wasn't until I started teaching that I realized it was a teacher who really inspired me as a child," Anders said. "She was there for me when I needed it, and I want to do that for others."

Dawn Simpson, teacher of the year at Jane Macon Middle School, hopes she can do the same thing for her students.

"Each one of my students is someone else's child," she said. "Each one learns differently."

Simpson, who teaches eighth-grade math, said she treats her pupils as she would want a teacher to treat her child.

After 16 years of teaching, Simpson has learned being fair with middle school students is the best way to get the most out of them.

"As long as they know you are being fair with them, they will respond and they will learn something," Simpson said.

When students leave Simpson at Jane Macon, they move on to Brunswick High School, where they could end up in the science classroom of Teacher of the Year John Hall.

Hall said he is there to prepare students for the real world after high school.

"My job is to prepare them for what is to come and to be ready for the next level," he said.

Since childhood, Hall knew he would work with science.

"From an early age, I've always been interested in the world around me and how it works," Hall said.

His first foray into teaching came when working as a graduate assistant at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville. He fell in love with the profession.

"I think teaching is a calling more than anything," Hall said.

After graduation, he taught at the college for five years before getting a call from a friend who wanted to hire him at a high school in Fitzgerald.

Now, with eight years under his belt at Brunswick High School, Hall said he is grateful to be voted by his peers as the school's teacher of the year.

"It's a very humbling honor," Hall said.

BREAKOUT

Here is a list of men and women chosen by their colleagues as their school's 2012-2013 Teacher of the Year.

John Hall - Brunswick High School

Darren Landinguin - Glynn Academy

Jeff Lavinder - Golden Isles Career Academy

Alia Murray - Glynn Middle School

Dawn Simpson - Jane Macon Middle School

Myosha Leeper - Needwood Middle School

Leslie Jackson - Risley Middle School

Mary Shalack - Altama Elementary

Alan Clark - Burroughs-Molette Elementary

Jennifer Anders - Glyndale Elementary

Mickey Kirkland - Golden Isles Elementary

Alicia Flowers - Goodyear Elementary

Jerri Shipley - C.B. Greer Elementary

Traci King - Oglethorpe Point Elementary

Kathryn Cochran - St. Simons Elementary

Lisa Fauth - Satilla Marsh Elementary

Shelly Hall - Sterling Elementary

Rachel Styn - FACES/Leaps and Bounds



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