“It’s safe to say that we have all experienced at least one inspirational teacher who helped us understand their subject more and taught us to become a better person. The best teachers pass on this burning enthusiasm to their students, inspiring students to view the subject through refreshed lenses and to see things from a different perspective.” Ms. Amber Street was chosen by Swainsboro Elementary School as their 2024 Teacher of the Year. When describing her role in a project that led to the improvement of overall school culture, Ms. Street stated, “Educators are responsible for meeting students where they are and propelling them further. In edu-cation, no two students are alike, and the abilities and needs of students can be quite vast. Finding ways to meet the needs of a wide array of learners effectively is a complex puzzle but well worth the effort.” She quoted educational psychologist John F. Feldhusen, who stated, “All students deserve instruction and learning opportunities at a level and pace appropriate for their current development and talents.” Further stating, “One of the most impactful initiates she has ever been involved in centered around this premise.”
“My name is Amber Street. Raised in Swainsboro, I have deep roots within our community. My mother is Gwendolyn Street, and my father is Clayton Brown, both of Swainsboro. I have one son, August Street, who is also one of my students at Swainsboro Elementary School. Outside of teaching, I enjoy watercolor painting, graphic design, reading, traveling, and playing board or video games with my son”, says Street.
Ms. Street graduated as the salutatorian of the 2007 graduating class of Swainsboro High School. In 2010, she graduated from Georgia State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and later earned her Georgia Educator Certificate in Elementary Education through the Georgia Teacher Academy for Preparation and Pedagogy (GaTAPP) and hold a certification in Gifted Education. As a lifelong learner, Ms. Street recently completed the requirements to earn a Master of Education in School Library Media with an Instructional Technology certification at the University of West Georgia, and graduated December 9, 2023. “To have attended Swainsboro Elementary School (SES) and later become an educator there is amazing to me. You can ask any teacher; the power of education is made stronger through those around you, and your work is a group effort. I’m thankful to work with many dedicated, resilient, and inspiring individuals daily! The faculty and staff at SES work hard to empower and instill positive values within our students. I love my SES family!” says Street.
Her teaching journey began in South Korea as an English as a Second Language (ESL) teach-er for elementary and middle school students. Since then, in her nine years as a Georgia educator, Ms. Street has taught subjects such as reading, social studies, math, science, and cod-ing throughout 1st-5th grade class settings. She has mentored teachers within the Emanuel County and Montgomery County School Districts. Furthermore, Ms. Street has also worked as an online ESL teacher for young and adult students worldwide in China, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Taiwan, and more. She is currently a Math Computer Lab Teacher at Swainsboro Elementary School and taught 5th grade ELA Social Studies from 2015 – 2020 and 5th grade Math and Science from 2022 – 2023 at SES. Ms. Street previously taught at Chungdahm Learning Institute – Anyangsi, Gyeonggido, South Korea from 2013 – 2014: English Elementary/Middle Grades Instructor, Cambly, QKids, ZebraEnglish – Online from 2020 – 2021: Online ESL Teacher and Montgomery County Elementary School – Ailey, Georgia from 2020 – 2021: 4th Grade Social Studies / Informational Reading Teacher and 2021 – 2022: Eagle Academy Elementary Teacher. This is her 10th year as a teacher.
Ms. Street’s inspiration for becoming a teacher was only birthed from a passion to see more of the world and find a bigger purpose. She wasn’t expecting moving across the world to lead to her gaining a passion for teaching, but she knew it was a journey she needed to take. “It has undoubtedly been a rewarding one”, stated Street.
Ms. Street views teaching not only as a personal calling but also as a family tradition. Growing up, she never imagined becoming a teacher, but she has been blessed to follow in the footsteps of her mom and aunt, fellow Georgia educators who have worked in Emanuel County for countless years. Her inspiration stems from so many teachers. “That’s what teachers do; they each leave a mark of influence upon their students”, says Street. As a teacher, Ms. Street aims to embody Cheri McLeod’s kindness, Linda Holder’s integrity, Dabney Edenfield’s positivity, Judy Bennett’s benevolence, Elisabeth Hardy’s creativity, Toni Terwillger’s insight, Valorie Watkin’s compassion, and Martha Thomas’s dedication. Most importantly, she hopes to embody the heart, faith, and perseverance of her mom and fellow teacher, Gwen Street.
Now that you’ve met the teacher and read her story, read her Q/A’s below to further understand Amber Street’s incredible values of teaching and how she’s changing and inspiring young lives in our community.
What have you found most rewarding in your career?
Street: Helping students discover their true potential is the most rewarding feeling. When they realize their own growth or achievement, it’s like a light shines within them. Their eyes sparkle, their smiles grow, and their sense of direction is aligned with success. Each day, I get to be a part of that moment; it’s such a rewarding experience.
Do you feel that each of your students have left a lasting impression on you?
Street: Each of my students does have a lasting impression on me. It is said that you never “master” being a teacher. Each student, class, day, and year will bring forth new challenges, successes, and experiences that are unique to each child in your room. I truly believe the most impactful teachers know education is a two-way street.
If you could tell your past students or future students one thing that you hope will stick with them all throughout life, what would that be?
Street: True success comes from being proud of who you are, hopeful for who you may become, and capable of helping others along the way.
What’s a favorite memory or some of your favorite memories that you have from your time as an educator?
Street: My favorite memories are when my students or their families make me feel memorable. It could be an unexpected hand-drawn note, picture, or card. Sometimes, it’s smiles and excitement when encountering current or former students outside of school. Other times, parents and family members share how they have heard of you and your positive impact on their child.
However, if I had to choose one, it would be this past school year: As part of an Emanuel County Schools tradition, SHS seniors walk the halls of our school towards the end of the year. I told my 5th-grade students each year, “That will be you in seven years!” Well, my first group of 5th graders at SES was the graduating class of 2023 at SHS. To hear them greet me again with a “Miss Street!” to collect their hugs and to see their smiles again as seniors was an incredible feeling! I’ll never forget it.