Enjoy our Teacher of the Year Profile series each Thursday in the Statesboro Herald February 23 - June 1. This year's Bulloch County Teacher of the Year is Susan Reagan of Mill Creek Elementary School. This is her story.
My name is Susan Reagan, and I am a reading teacher for kindergarten through fifth-grade students at Mill Creek Elementary School, where I have served for three years. I have helped support the language arts, reading and math skills of children in Bulloch County Schools for 23 years, particularly at Statesboro High, William James Middle and Nevils Elementary.
I received my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in literature and composition from Chapman University and the University of Virginia. I also obtained my specialist’s degree in learning disabilities and assessment from the University of Georgia.
I began teaching because I wanted to impart my love of learning to others. I know that I have granted the gift of literacy to many children. Those children can now read a test to earn a driver’s license, they can read a ballot to vote, in time they will read notes that come home to them as parents, and they will read to their own children at night. “Literacy is the foundation of a free life,” Frederick Douglass wrote. “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” I know that my students are stronger, more capable because they can read. They are free. That is what influences me to strive daily to be the best reading teacher.
One of my proudest moments as a teacher comes from a student I taught at Nevils Elementary. He came to me without the ability to read. After my first week of teaching I received a call from a parent. Anxiety swirled in my stomach. What could I have done? Come to find out she was ecstatic. She told me all about how her son climbed down from the bus with a paper in his hand exclaiming, “Mama, Mama!!! I can READ!” It is moments like this, which push me to become the best teacher I can be.
Since those early days of teaching students with disabilities, I have learned a tremendous amount in my field. Every year I feel a greater sense of accomplishment with my students.
Teaching can be grueling. There are many factors beyond our control. But then, there’s my classroom. My students enter my room, we close the door, and each day we inch toward a changed world. In every regard, we as human beings are constantly growing. I encourage everyone, in every field to do their best. Our future depends upon it.