Amy McDonald – Southern Lee High School

Our latest Welcome To Sanford Teacher of the Week is Amy McDonald of Southern Lee High School. Mrs. McDonald is an exceptional children teacher and has been a proud Cavalier for the entirety of her 11-year teaching career. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Art Education from Appalachian State University, and also obtained additional certifications in Special Education, Secondary English and Middle School Math. Mrs. McDonald was also recently recognized as Southern Lee’s 2018-19 Teacher of the Year.

Since students’ functional needs are a priority to her, Mrs. McDonald has built strong relationships with school and community resources to develop a network of support. She notes, “Not only is a student more prepared for learning if their basic needs are met, but their perspective on school improves when they feel supported.”

Mrs. McDonald knew that she wanted to teach when she was in high school, commenting “I began tutoring through the National Honor Society and realized that I enjoyed helping others learn.”  A recent visit from a former student who thanked her for the years she spent working with him is Mrs. McDonald’s best teaching experience. She observes, “He came from a very difficult background, and although both of his parents were high school drop outs and he encountered many obstacles, including learning to cope with a severe emotional disability, he persevered and graduated from high school. Listening to him talk about his courses at community college was a very proud moment for me.”

This is Mrs. McDonald’s sixth year as department chair and IEP team chair at Southern, and she is also a Delta Kappa Gamma and North Carolina Association of Educators member.  Her advice for future educators is to ask for help often from your mentor, coworkers, school support staff and administration, stating “No degree will fully prepare you for the situations you will face as a teacher, and it is normal to have questions constantly. Through years of experience as a mentor to beginning teachers, I have learned that my guidance is much more effective if I know specifics regarding what they are struggling with.”