ALBANY, Ga. -- As a young girl, there was never any doubt as to what Erica Wade was to become as an adult.
"Teaching has always been a part of me," said Wade. a fourth grade science/social studies teacher at Lake Park Elementary School and among eight Dougherty County 2014 Teacher of the Year finalists.
"When my friends and I played, I was the first to vote for playing school and I always had to be the teacher. I spent my high school and college summers working with children as a summer camp counselor and realized then that teaching was a part of who I am."
While pursuing her B.S. in Education at Columbus State University, her passion for teaching grew even more.
"Every classroom placement as a student teacher was a pure joy, and I was eager for my own classroom and the opportunity to put my desire to help children into practice," Wade said. "Learning how to write lesson plans and teaching those plans was never work for me. Student teaching taught me how to run a classroom.
"Since becoming a teacher I have seen science and social studies come alive and become relevant to my students."
Several months ago, Wade had an experience that convinced her that she had made the correct career choice.
"Recently, a former student came to school looking specifically for me. She wanted to tell me her social studies and science grades," Wade said. "She also gave me her cell phone number and asked if I would text her and check on her sometimes. The connection with that student is an example of what I consider to be my greatest accomplishment since I have become a teacher."
The DCSS's 2014 Teacher of the Year, selected from the best among a group of teachers from each of the district's 27 schools, will be announced Thursday at a banquet at the downtown Hilton Garden Inn.