“I believe that kindergarten is my calling,” shared Julie McDaniel, kindergarten teacher at Lisenby Primary School. “I love the excitement of learning that I am able to foster in the young minds of my students. For most of my students, I am their first interaction with the formal education system. It is an honor and a privilege to ensure that all my students are put on a path to success.”
Mrs. McDaniel has been teaching for 17 years. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Troy University and her Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University. She is also further certified to teach English as a second language in grades preschool through 12th grade and English Language Arts in grades 6th- 12th.
“I have taught grades first through third. Currently I teach kindergarten,” said Mrs. McDaniel. “I chose this age group because kindergarten is the foundation of a child’s academic success. I like to say that kindergarten lays the strong foundation so that the student can build a strong ‘house’. A house that is full of knowledge! Without a strong foundation, a house will crumble.”
This mantra seems to ring true, even early on in this school year. She was nominated by one of her students parents, Ansley Godwin, to be Teacher of the Month. Ansley shares that the love Mrs. McDaniel has for her children is unmeasurable.
“She keeps her kids engaged with fun activities beyond the classroom,” shared Ansley. “It hasn’t been too long since we started this school year but my son’s personality has come out even more.”
“I have this overwhelming feeling of honor to have been nominated by a student’s parent,” Mrs. McDaniel said. “Every day, I give my students 100% of myself… my knowledge, my love, my encouragement. Oftentimes, as teachers, parents only acknowledge the negative. To have received this award feels like a huge pat on the back. It’s like someone is saying, ‘I see you! Great job!’”
Our Teacher of the Month says unselfish love, forgiveness and patience are the top three things her students have taught her. Mrs. McDaniel’s favorite teaching moments are when everything, all of a sudden ‘clicks’ for her students.
Mrs. McDaniel was eager to share advice for new teachers: “The most important thing for new teachers to remember is your first priority is to show compassion to your students and build a relationship with each child. Learning cannot take place without positive relationships with teachers. Students do not learn from teachers who do not like them or if the students feel like the teacher doesn’t see their value to the classroom.”
Julie and her husband Brady have two boys, Austin (17) and Logan (14). Her hobbies include reading fantasy books and educational books, shopping and enjoying a nice relaxing day in the sun!