One student at a time
Brandy Reeder has a simple goal in life - to make the world a better place. She is trying to achieve it one student at a time.
“I know it sounds cheesy but it’s true,” said the fifth grade teacher at Brier Creek Elementary School.
Reeder is making a difference in Davidson County Schools as she was named the system’s 2012 Teacher of the Year. For someone with so much respect for her peers, the award was humbling.
“I was so honored, I really couldn’t believe it,” said Reeder, 38. “There are so many hard-working people and in my opinion we’re all teachers of the year all the time.”
Growing up in Davie County, Reeder always knew she wanted to be a teacher. Her love for working with children has carried the Western Carolina University graduate through a 15-year career that includes stops at Fairgrove Elementary and Hasty Elementary. Known as a teacher who stays ahead of the technology curve and searches for new ways to involve students in the classroom, Reeder’s achievement brings attention to what others have recognized for awhile.
“She is an exceptional staff member and teacher,” said Principal Kelli Dalton. “She establishes an inviting atmosphere that is very much family like. The classroom environment and the level of respect she establishes year after year is unprecedented and makes her an excellent representative for our teacher of the year.”
Getting students involved is a key component to Reeder’s daily lesson plan. She encourages children to express themselves and the end result is a trust that extends beyond the classroom.
“She helps us in class, teaching us what to learn with different ways of learning it,” Joshua Miller, 11, said. “She also helps us with our personal lives. I like the way she listens to our feedback and the way we feel about stuff. She gives feedback to our feedback.”
Reeder feels her time with children is a chance to leave a lasting mark that one day will change the world for the better.
“It’s very important to me to leave them with knowledge they can use their whole life,” said Reeder. “Of course it’s about what we have to do for the fifth grade curriculum and the end-of-year tests, but I want them to take a piece of bringing something better to humanity when they‘re finished with me. I want to help make them good people.”
Reeder hopes her achievement brings light to the commitment all teachers have to students and a profession that is more a way of life than a job.
“One of the challenges is people don’t know how much dedication all of us put into our work,” Reeder said. I’m not saying we’re seeking praise, but this is hard work all the way around. It’s emotionally draining. This is your life when you teach. It consumes you all of the time and we’re all dedicated to it.”
Reeder, who credits her parents, Donna and David Steelman, for “making me, me,” is married and has a son.
Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or firstname.lastname@example.org.