Wanted: Teachers Passing the Torch

The school year is coming to a close and for some Leon County teachers this will be their last year taking roll. April Douglas talked with some teachers who are passing the torch to the next generation.

Following in the footsteps of her mother, Edna Owens entered the field of education, a path that has taken her across the Sunshine State and a journey that has spanned four decades.

"I'm going to miss being around the kids, you may have to redo this, miss the kids and the teachers, fabulous school everyday different when in school," says Owens.

Just as Edna's era is coming to end, Lisa Smith's is just beginning, a fifth grade teacher wrapping up her first year as head of the class.

"Fear is that I won't get a class next years as good as this one has been," says Lisa.

Two teachers, who share a special bond, a love of learning, yet at different ends of the spectrum, one coming into a world of change, the other watching it go by.

"Biggest change, accountability, push and looking to make sure kids are growing so mire focus on that," says Owens.

A teacher for more than 20 years, Eydie Gibbs is also saying farewell to the field, one that's transformed over time.

"More demands on teachers, weekend work a lot higher standards," says Gibbs.

While two veteran teachers close a chapter of their lives, two rookies emerge eager to carry on the legacy of learning like physical education teacher Rob Mullinax.

"At first overwhelming you don't know what to expect. I want to continue as long as I can," says Rob.

Even though there's mounting pressure to perform perfectly and the pay can leave much to be desired, the teachers say there's an even bigger payoff.

"So rewarding when do well, see how well kids done and changed from the first day they walked in," Lisa Smith says.

It's unknown what the final chapter holds for these first year teachers. They just hope to leave a mark like the ones who came before them. Leon County teachers put in an average of 15 years, compared to the state average of 12 years.


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