News Release: Brooks County Schools
QUITMAN – Elaine Southall has been selected as Brooks County High School’s Teacher of the Year. Of her 24 years as a teacher, she served 18 years in the Lowndes County School system and the last six in Brooks County. “I have always enjoyed reading and learning new things. I had some really great teachers when I was in 1-12th,” says Southall.
Her husband worked long hours and once her children began attending school, Southall says that she began substitute teaching. “A number of teachers encouraged me to get my degree and become a full time teacher. As a result, I decided to take the plunge and enroll in VSU (Valdosta State University).” Southall did not take long to hit the ground running as in a matter of ten days, she began working in the work study program while beginning her first quarter and quickly chose a major.
“I haven’t looked back since, I completed my undergraduate, masters and specialist degrees in nine years at VSU,” she says.
Southall says she believes that a teacher should be a lifelong learner, compassionate and dedicated to the profession as well as the students. “A teacher should know how to be flexible, forgiving, patient, kind, understanding, and passionate about their students, peers, parents and the world we live in.”
Southall believes that her students to understand their value as well as how much they have to offer the world. “Teachers really are just like them. I would like students to know that I have loved them, cared for them and prayed for them as I see them in stress. I am happy for them when things are going their way, and that I am so glad I was able to be part of their lived for a brief period of time,” says Southall.
Southall says she is deeply honored and humbled to be chosen by her peers as their Teacher of the Year. “The teachers I work with are equally deserving of the honor. They have supported me and I have supported them. I feel that we have excellent teachers in Brooks County and there are many unsung heroes in our profession in every school district. I feel that I am a better person because I am a teacher.”
Southall says that she would like to see the school system grow in every way. “I would enjoy seeing education become more of a priority in our country for all individuals. My hope would be that when I retire, they will say, I hate to see her go, not thank God she’s gone.”