Golden Apple: Donna Leopard

(North Augusta, S.C.)

Donna Leopard could be teaching math right now. But the Fox Creek English instructor had a change of heart when she started studying those numbers in college.

"I knew I wanted to be a teacher, it was just figuring out what subject to teach," Leopard says. "When I got into Calculus 4, I think, and they started spinning things on the axis without a graphing calculator, graphing calculators didn't exist 25 years ago. I decided that was not my thing, I'd rather read books."

Now she helps her students develop a real love of literature.

"A lot of that is choosing high-interest, young adult books that people don't believe are worth learning, but really grab your readers attention. We're doing dystopian novels right now, in both my CP classes and honors classes.  And they really love these books. Even some of my boys who are reluctant readers, who've said I've never read a book in high school until this one.  That's success."

And even though her kids graduate and move on, they don't lose touch. That's just not the way it works around here.

"I think it shows students that teachers have an appreciation for them as well. They are a big part of my life. Fox Creek is a very different being. We are not just a high school, we are pretty much a family. It's very much a family feel. If you walk through the hallways, students are giving teachers hugs, they babysit for me."

Thank you Donna Leopard for working hard on and off campus, to make a positive impression on so many young people."

"It's nice to know that you're acknowledged for your efforts," she says. "I think that teaching can be a very thankless profession. There are disgruntled parents, students who don't want to do the work, administrators who want better performance, legislators who want higher scores. Teachers get a lot of negative feedback. To have this sort of positive reinforcement is really comforting."


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