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 Keri Claxton.
Keri Claxton is Swainsboro Primary School’s Teacher of the Year for 2020-2021. She was born and raised in Emanuel County, and she has raised her two children, Hadley and Emma, 7, with her husband of 12 years, Richard, as well. Claxton just finished her 13th year of teaching, all of which were spent in Swainsboro.
Claxton is a current member of the Beta Beta Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, which promotes professional and personal growth of women educators and excellence in education. Her family attends Oaky Grove Church in Wrightsville.
Claxton graduated from Swainsboro High School and went on to Middle Georgia College in order to obtain her Associate of Arts in Education. She continued her education at Georgia Southern’s satellite school at Middle Georgia of Dublin. She graduated in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. After teaching for one year, she went back to school and in 2011, she graduated from Walden University with her master’s degree in elementary reading and math.
In 2008, Claxton started her career at Swainsboro Pre-K as a lead pre-K teacher. After teaching there for four years, she moved to Swainsboro Elementary, where she taught fourth grade science and social studies and then third grade math and science. This year was Claxton’s first in her new position as the STEAM teacher at Swainsboro Primary School.
Claxton decided as a young child that she wanted to be a teacher. She explained, “I knew that I wanted to do something in my life where I could work with small children and make a difference in their lives. I’m thankful to say that I am helping to shape our future. Over the last 13 years, I feel that I have been able to touch many lives in a positive way. It’s very rewarding to see students that I taught in the past graduate from high school and are working toward becoming successful and know that I had a small part to play in that.”
Claxton genuinely adores her job and the interactions with children that come with it. As a STEAM teacher, she gets to teach “the best kindergarten through second graders in the county” and has fun while doing so. She takes a hands-on approach to teaching and says, “The excitement that comes on their faces when they are presented with a new challenge is unmeasurable. I love getting to see their little inquisitive minds at work as they problem solve and create solutions to the challenges they are presented.”
Claxton continued, “‘Students don’t care what you know until they know that you care!’ This is my motto each and every day when I walk into my classroom. No matter what kind of day I am having, my students are going to enter my classroom to a positive attitude, a smiling face, and a warm welcome. Most days, I am greeted with some of the best hugs, too! When they leave my classroom, if they haven’t learned anything else, they know that they are loved.”
When Claxton found out she had won Teacher of the Year, she was surprised and grateful. She said, “I never would have dreamed that I would be chosen as Teacher of the Year my first year at a new school in a new position. The Lord has really blessed me with some of the best colleagues. It is definitely an honor to represent Swainsboro Primary School as its Teacher of the Year.” Further, she believes the honor of Teacher of the Year is reserved for those who make positive impacts, lend helping hands, and strive to do their best. For her colleagues to recognize those characteristics in her was “a humbling experience.”
In the future, Claxton hopes to continue her education by pursuing her specialist degree. She would also like to see the STEAM program at Swainsboro Primary expand and hopes to be a contributing factor in this process.
As for thanks, first and foremost, Claxton wants to express her gratitude to “the Good Lord for all of His many blessings” that He has bestowed upon her, for without Him, she says she is nothing.
She also wants to thank her family for being her biggest supporters.
Last but not least, Claxton appreciates all the great administrators and colleagues she has had the privilege to work with over the last 13 years. Without all of these individuals in her corner, she wouldn’t be the teacher she is today.