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Teacher of the Year: Andrea Gibbs

Andrea Gibbs- Hartwell Elementary School Teacher of the Year 

Andrea Gibbs

Where are you from and where did you go to school?

I am from Elbert County, and I graduated from Elbert County Comprehensive High School. After high school, I graduated from Emmanuel College with a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. I also obtained a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education and an Education Specialist Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Piedmont College.

How long have you been teaching, and in what areas have you taught? Where all have you taught?

I have been teaching for seven years at Hartwell Elementary School. So far, I’ve taught special education, kindergarten, and third grade.

What was your motivation for becoming a teacher?

I changed my original college major many times. It took a mentor sitting me down and asking me, “What do you really want to look back on at the end of your career?” for me to realize teaching was for me. Teaching is extremely rewarding. I want to be part of a profession focused on giving back and making positive change.

What is your favorite subject to teach?

I absolutely love teaching reading. I enjoy seeing students learn new things or travel to new places through reading, so teaching students how to read, or how to use those skills, is intrinsically rewarding.

When not in the classroom, what are your hobbies or what do you like to do in your free time?

I really enjoy spending time with my family and cruising around Lake Hartwell.

Can you tell us about a moment in your teacher career that really hit home and made you proud to be a teacher?

I don’t have a specific moment. Events and situations that happen on a daily basis make me proud to be a teacher. Proud moments come in different forms, whether it’s a student who sneaks down to visit your classroom during the day just to tell you “hey” or students who run up to you in the grocery store to tell you about something that’s happening in their lives. Building lasting relationships and making an impact on a daily basis make me proud to be a teacher.

If you could give advice to a first year teacher, what would you tell them?

I would tell first year teachers to flexible and teach to the best of your ability during that first year.  Remember, in the end, building relationships and making positive impacts are more important than test scores.

What is the best advice you were ever given about being an educator?

The best advice given to me was by my cooperating teaching while I was student teaching, and that was to be flexible. Education evolves from year to year, and you have to be able to quickly adapt to those changes.

What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?

My favorite thing about teaching is that I get to be a little piece, or part, of many students’ lives.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I would like to eventually move into an instructional coaching position and work with teachers throughout the county.

Tell us about your family.

My husband, Matt, is also a teacher at Hart County High School and the new assistant varsity basketball coach, JV, and ninth grade coach. We find ourselves attending a lot of basketball games during the season. Go Dogs! We have a two-year-old daughter named Nora Claire. My parents live and work in Elbert County and my husband’s family lives here in Hartwell.

If you could travel anywhere for a week, where would you go and why?

My dream travel experience would be a trip to Europe to experience the culture and art.

What is your favorite part about Hart County?