By Asya Fields
Several new teachers join the Evans County School System's faculty this year.
Lacy Toothman, a Claxton native, is returning to the area as a special education teacher at Claxton Middle School.
“Returning to Claxton makes me kinda feel like a little kid again, but then different, but I am excited. It will be fun, I think,” Toothman said. She has been in Bulloch County teaching for the past six years and returns to Claxton for a change of scenery and a chance to help local youth.
Toothman says she is ready to get her classroom set up. “The excitement of coming home has been really ... motivating," she said. "[I'm] definitely looking forward to being in a school system where there is an environment of trust,” Toothman said.
Growing up in Claxton, she always wanted to be a teacher. Her interest was sparked when a coach encouraged her to help out at the Special Olympics. “With that experience that’s kinda what I always had in the back of my mind as what I wanted to do - special education,” Toothman explained.
Another new staff member, Courtney Tinsley, is a new counselor at Claxton High School. Originally from Augusta, she graduated from Augusta State University with her bachelor’s degree in psychology. Tinsley also holds a masters in school counseling from Augusta State.
Tinsley interned at Huts Middle School and Butler High School, receiving over 600 hours of counseling experience. She also substituted in Richmond County for over two years. “Working in these areas led me to understand the overall school system -- working with teachers, administration and students,” Tinsley said.
She has a two-year-old son coming to live in the Claxton area with her, and he will be attending the daycare offered by Claxton Elementary School.
Her inspiration to become a school counselor came from her own school counselors. “I had really good experience with my counselors in middle school and high school. They really supported me and helped me decide what I wanted to do as a career. At that point when I was taking on too much, I remember sitting with the counselor and her telling me to take it easy. They helped me a lot,” Tinsley recalled.
Tinsley hopes to motivate Claxton's students to “promote their academic and emotional well being,” she says.
She is currently looking for a home church in Evans County and looks forward to becoming a part of the local community.
Monica Hurst will be joining Claxton Elementary to teach Pre-Kindergarten this fall. She lives in Claxton.
“I am really excited to be teaching Pre-K. They really are a joy to teach and are filled with so much love,” Hurst said.
She has been teaching since 2003 and has taught various grade levels, but enjoys teaching Pre-K the most. She received her degree from Oakland City University.
“I really look forward to meeting new kids. It is hard to say goodbye to the kids at the end of the school year, but I always enjoy meeting new ones,” Hurst said.