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Humphrey Named Toombs County Teacher of the Year

Humphrey Named Toombs County Teacher of the Year
TOOMBS TEACHER OF THE YEAR — Toombs Central Elementary School (TCES) Special Education Teacher Joanna Humphrey (center) stands next to TCES Principal Destiny Levant (right) and Superintendent Barry Waller (left) as she receives her commemorative plaque for the award.
Humphrey Named Toombs County Teacher of the Year
TOOMBS TEACHER OF THE YEAR — Toombs Central Elementary School (TCES) Special Education Teacher Joanna Humphrey (center) stands next to TCES Principal Destiny Levant (right) and Superintendent Barry Waller (left) as she receives her commemorative plaque for the award.

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Toombs County Schools has named Toombs Central Elementary School Special Education Teacher Joanna Humphrey as the 2022 District Teacher of the Year. Humphrey will now represent the school system as she competes for the statewide title of Georgia Teacher of the Year.

“It is a huge honor [to be named the Teacher of the Year],” Humphrey reflected. “I know there are so many teachers besides me who deserve this award, that go above and beyond for our kids, but I think that is what made this so great. Yes, I received the award, but without my paraprofessionals and coteachers, and without my administrators, I wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything I have accomplished. Really, I want to give all of those people credit because without them, my classroom would not function the way it does.”

Humphrey has been at TCES since 2019, after working with students with severe special and behavioral needs in Colorado and Georgia. She works alongside every teacher at the school to serve special education students from grades 1-5. “I jump from [serving students with] severe needs to milder needs. I’ve really had experience with a wide spectrum of kids’ needs,” she explained. “My classroom is very difficult and challenging, but it is never boring and is very rewarding.”

Having grown up as the sibling of an individual who is severely autistic, Humphrey believes it is her personal experience that helps her most in her desire to best serve her students. “She was a big inspiration to me growing up,” she said of her sister. “I saw the whole side of living with someone who had special needs, and I just knew I wanted to give back and help families that are going through what I went through growing up. She is a big part of why I chose not only education, but special education,” she said.

“I think from the moment I was born, to college, to now, God was really preparing me to be where I’m at today,” Humphrey remarked. “I feel like I know what it is like to live and to deal with some of the behaviors and things on the home side; that helps me be more empathetic to the families regarding their educations.”

Besides her sister, Joanna’s inspiration for her career in education comes from her mother, who has taught at Toombs County High School for several years. “Originally, I chose not to do teaching because I saw the toll it took on her, the time she sacrificed, the dedication she put into it,” she commented. “As I went through school and college, I felt God nudging me that this is the calling He had for my life.”

When she began teaching at TCES, Humphrey said she met many teachers who told her that her mother had tutored them or helped them to graduate. “I wanted to do that for other people,” she emphasized. “God has really used my mom in her life to shine a light to other students, and I want to shine that light as well.”

Humphrey was chosen as the Toombs County Schools Teacher of the Year from a variety of individual Teacher of the Year awardees from schools within the county, including: Lyons Primary School Teacher of the Year Angela Crocker; Lyons Upper Elementary School Teacher of the Year Amanda Hudson; Toombs County Middle School Teacher of the Year Jodi Foster; and Toombs County High School Teacher of the Year Dana Manning. Humphrey will now work to complete paperwork and other responsibilities, as she competes for the title of Georgia Teacher of the Year.


TOOMBS COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL — Toombs County High School (TCHS) Teacher Dana Manning stands with TCHS Principal Marissa Morris (right) and Superintendent Barry Waller (left) as she receives her commemorative plaque for the award.

LYONS UPPER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL — Lyons Upper Elementary School (LUES) 4th Grade Teacher Amanda Hudson stands with LUES Principal Rhonda Stone (right) and Superintendent Barry Waller (left) as she receives her commemorative plaque for the award.

TOOMBS COUNTY MIDDLE SCHOOL — Toombs County Middle School (TCMS) Teacher Jodi Foster stands alongside TCMS Principal Thomas Mercer (right) and Superintendent Barry Waller (left) as she receives her commemorative plaque for the award.

LYONS PRIMARY SCHOOL — Lyons Primary School (LPS) Kindergarten Teacher Angela Crocker is shown with LPS Principal Chris Bell (right) and Superintendent Barry Waller (left) as she receives her commemorative plaque for the award.

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