Yolanda Bryant - 2014-15 Dougherty County School System Teacher of the Year Finalist
Yolanda Bryant, a teacher at Lamar Reese Magnet School for the Arts, is one of eight finalists for the 2014-15 Dougherty County School System Teacher of the Year Award. Bryant explains her teaching philosophy and memorable moments as an educator. The award will be presented in a ceremony on April 17.
ALBANY — Dougherty County Teacher of the Year finalist Yolanda Bryant doesn’t regard teaching as just an occupation. For Bryant, she says it is her destiny.
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A teacher with the Early Intervention Program at Lamar Reese Magnet School of the Arts, Bryant has been a teacher for the past nine years. Growing up, she wanted to become a pediatrician, but fate had a different plan.
“I have always loved and felt a special connection with children,” Bryant said. “Although I did not feel compelled to teach, I always knew that I was supposed to work with them in some capacity. When I went to college I wanted to become a pediatrician; in retrospect, I was running away from destiny. Needless to say, that was short lived and I found myself standing at the front desk of the College of Education at Georgia State University applying for admission.”
In short, Bryant was called to teach.
“God has given me a heart for children and a gift to teach them,” Bryant says. “Although I was not necessarily influenced to teach, I have been inspired to remain in the profession. I have been so blessed to work under and glean from dynamic, highly effective educators and leader. Their tenacity, hard work and dedication to the teaching profession ignited a spark within me and I have been on fire ever since.
“From my mother who is a 20-year special education teacher and former day care owner to my phenomenal supervising teacher who passed on her compassion, enthusiasm and best best practices … teaching has become my passion. It keeps me up, wakes me in the wee hours of the morning, brings me to work early and keeps me there late. It is my destiny, therefore inescapable.”
Bryant said her educational philosophy is simple.
“Love our children, believe in our children and teach our children,” she said. “As a teacher I believe the classroom should be a safe place characterized by community, engagement and exploration. In my classroom, teaching and learning is fun, rich, standards-based and authentic.
Bryant holds a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from Albany State University and an M.S. in Early Childhood Education from Walden University. She is currently working on her Educational Specialist degree in Educational Leadership.
She is among a pool of eight finalists from which Dougherty County’s 2014-15 Teacher of the year will be selected Thurday at a banquet at Hilton Garden Inn.