n this ongoing series, you’ll find profiles on Teachers of the Year from Emanuel County Schools presented alphabetically by last name. This group was actually selected for the 2019-2020 school year. Per Georgia’s School Superintendent Richard Woods, the 2020 Georgia Teacher of the Year Program was suspended to adapt to the realities of COVID-19. As a result, the conference and gala planned for May 2020 were postponed to 2021, and there were no applications due to the state in December 2020. The next application due date is set for December 2021. The current 2021 Teacher of the Year cohort (the application that was due in December 2019) will become the 2022 cohort in an effort to ensure these teachers are recognized fully. Thus, the cohort being recognized by The Crossroads Chronicle is as follows: Dawn Boddiford, Rachel Burkhalter, Gene Hundley, Mary Hundley, Alexandria Walden, and Frank Wimberly.
Mary Hundley, a second grade Early Intervention Program (EIP) reading teacher at Swainsboro Primary School. She also provides instructional resources to help students who are performing below grade level to obtain the skills they need to reach grade-level performance.
She graduated from East Georgia State College, where she received an Associate in Arts. She also obtained her Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from Georgia Southern University and her Master of Arts in Early Childhood and Middle Grades Education at Austin Peay State University. Hundley says she chose to be a teacher because she was taught by many amazing teachers. These educators, she adds, taught her their caring and loving ways. Hundley felt as if she could achieve whatever she wanted to in life and with that influence and the support of her parents, it showed her the difference a teacher can make in the life of a child. With reading being such an important skill a person needs to master, Hundley loves to see her students catch onto those skills, learn new sight words, and read books by themselves. “These moments make my heart grow a little bigger and my love for teaching grow stronger,” she said.
Hundley started her career teaching first grade here in Emanuel County. Several years after, she taught a second and third grade combined class at a Department of Defense School on the base at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Hundley returned home several years after, at which point she started teaching second grade for many years.
From the beginning of Hundley’s teaching career, she has been blessed with amazing superintendents, principals, assistant principals, and colleagues who are more than just co-workers but dear friends. Hundley loves teaching because she feels it is one of the few professions that has so much impact on an individual’s life and their future. Mostly, she loves the excitement she sees on their faces when they accomplish the task set before them and the way their eyes light up; that makes teaching worth it. Hundley likes to not only teach her students but to show them love, care, and to believe in and support them as well.
Hundley calls it “inspiring and motivating” to be chosen as Teacher of the Year by the peers who see her working hard every day. She has been blessed and rewarded in so many ways to be able to work with many amazing teachers through the years. She hopes in whatever the future may hold, she can always have a connection with the educators, past and present, in Emanuel County.