Summer Neely

Summer Neely

Editor’s note: This is the seventh installment of Q&As with the eight teachers who have been chosen by Athens City Schools as teachers of the year. Future installments will tentatively appear in Wednesday and Saturday editions of The News Courier. The teachers will be honored at the fourth annual Gratitude Banquet at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, in the ballroom of the Sandridge Student Center on the campus of Athens State University. Tickets are $25 per person or $15 for children ages 12 and under. Proceeds benefit the Athens City Schools Foundation. Visit to buy tickets.

• Name: Summer Neely

• Hometown: Hayden

• Personal: Married to Brett Neely; one son, Jack Neely

• School: Athens Renaissance School

• Subjects taught: Science and biomedical science, grades 6-12

• How many years have you been a teacher? 5

• How many years have you taught in ACS? 2

• Degrees: B.S. degree in chemistry from Judson College and master's degree in teaching from Mississippi State University

• Why did you become a teacher? I became a teacher because I saw so many adults who had such a lack of understanding of their own personal health. As a science major, I was very discouraged to see this day in and day out. I thought that if I could go back and become a teacher, I could help students to want to learn more about not only their bodies, but also the world around them. This is the goal I strive to remember each day I teach my students.

• The best part of my day is: The best part of my day is during our Project Based Learning time. I love that during this time I get to see kids make real-world connections to the content they are learning. I get to see passion as kids work to complete their projects. I get to be a learner alongside the students as they work. It is a truly fulfilling experience to get to see kids grow into lifelong learners who are passionate about their worlds.

• Who is your greatest source of inspiration? My mom is my greatest source of inspiration. She is a jack-of-all-trades, a problem solver, and a servant to everyone around her.

• How do you hope to inspire your students? I hope to inspire my students by showing them by example that it is okay to take risks and even to fail sometimes. I want them to see that it is one's response to their circumstances that matters and not the circumstances themselves. I also hope that they will see me caring for others and be inspired to care for others as well.

• What advice would you like to share with new teachers? I would tell new teachers to not give up on dreaming big, even when others may tell you that you need to be realistic and dream smaller.

• This is called the Gratitude Banquet. For what are you most grateful? I am blessed in so many ways. I have a wonderful husband who always supports me in my endeavors, no matter how crazy. I have a beautiful baby boy who brings so much joy and light to our little family. I have extended family who go above and beyond to help me pursue my career. I have an amazing team of coworkers who make going to work each day such a pleasure.

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