The newest group of Teachers of the Year for Emanuel County Schools were recently selected. These educators include Keri Claxton at Swainsboro Primary School, Charlean Love at Swainsboro High School, Michelle Fondren of Swainsboro Middle School, Joey Korwin of Emanuel County Institute, Jennifer Best of Twin City Elementary, and Cam Holloway of Swainsboro Elementary School. The Crossroads Chronicle will feature profiles of each teacher over the next few weeks. This week’s featured teacher is Jennifer Best.
Jennifer Best is Twin City Elementary’s 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year. The Sylvania native has been teaching for 13 years, three of which have been spent at TCE.
Best attended Georgia College & State University, from which she earned her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. She later attended Georgia College & State University and earned her Master’s in Public Administration. Best began teaching at Baldwin High School in 2008 and moved to Metter School System shortly after. She taught at Freedom Chrisitan Academy and David Emanuel Academy as well.
“I have been teaching for 13 years and have had the opportunity to teach at six different schools,” Best said. “I am thankful for each school that I have taught at and believe I have found my forever school, TCE.”
She has a real passion for special education. She plans to go back to school to earn her Doctor of Education in Special Education.
She is happily married to her husband, Clay, with whom she shares two beautiful daughters: Jenna Claire, a 9-year-old rising fourth grader at TCE, and Chloe Elizabeth, a 7-year-old rising third grader at TCE. The family has one dog, Max.
Best has played many roles in addition to teaching in her community. She served as Saint Jude Mathathon coordinator and varsity cheer coach in Metter. She served as a coach for the middle school cheer team and girls running club at Freedom Christian Academy. She is a GHSA cheer official with South Georgia Cheer Association.
Teaching wasn’t always Best’s plan. Growing up, she wanted to be a lawyer. During her time as a graduate assistant, Best says she learned her true calling: teaching. She is thankful to have changed her career path and to have a job that she truly loves. Best’s favorite part of the job is “seeing the smiles on kids’ faces” and the connections she gets to make with her students and their families. On that note, she said, “As teachers, we have the opportunity to not only have our students learn from us, but we also have the privilege of getting to learn from them. I am inspired by my students each day! They are amazing kids, and they make my job so rewarding.”
Even for Teacher of the Year, this year was tough. Best had a year “unlike any other” that she had experienced as a teacher or otherwise.
“This year, I taught in person classes while also having students on the virtual program. Through it all, I tried my very best to remain positive and understanding of the hardships that everyone was facing each day because I wanted to do my best to make it a good experience for my students and their families, whether they were at home on the virtual program or at school.”
Best says her goal as an educator is to make sure her students know she believes in them. She hopes each child knows that they have someone that is cheering them on and that they are capable of anything. She stated that being named Teacher of The Year for TCE has been an extremely humbling experience.
“It has made me look at my 13 years of teaching and ask the questions, ‘Am I doing enough? Am I making a difference?’ If anything, this award has thrown fuel on the fire and made me realize that I want to do even more for my students.
“I am very thankful for my family. I have an amazing husband who believes in me and supports me. Mr. Alan and Mrs. Debra, I am so thankful for all the help over the years with the girls. I am also thankful for my parents, who have always believed in me and encouraged me in everything that I pursue. My mom is my rock and my dad has always stressed the importance of education. I am also thankful for the administration and all the staff at TCE. I have had the opportunity to work with some amazing teachers and administrators that I have learned so much from and look up to for guidance. I love our school!”