Danielle McLamb – Greenwood Elementary

This week’s Welcome To Sanford Teacher of the Week is Danielle McLamb of Greenwood Elementary School. Ms. McLamb is an Exceptional Children teacher and has been a Hornet for two years of her 18-year teaching career. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Mount Saint Mary’s University, a Master of Education degree in Special Education via an online university program, and a Master of School Administration degree from Campbell University. Ms. McLamb was also recently recognized as Greenwood’s 2019-20 Teacher of the Year.

Ms. McLamb believes in creating and fostering a nurturing and safe learning environment, where students can develop their academic, emotional and functional skill sets. She notes, “I believe in focusing on effort, process and independence. Children need to know that their growth has no limits and that their contributions, ideas and thoughts matter.”

The greatest teaching experience, and contribution as an educator for Ms. McLamb has been her ability to develop positive relationships with all students. Ms. McLamb observes, “I am really good at handling a student in crisis and have a particular skill for de-escalating stressful situations. I became the teacher that students across settings go to for guidance, support and love when they need it most. When students fall apart, they know that I love them enough to put them back together. They know they are valued and safe and loved. The feeling of safety was one that I often searched for as a child. When I became a teacher, making sure my students were safe in the literal and figurative sense was extremely important to me. Students over the years have commented that I and my classroom make them feel safe and warm. These simple words have mended my soul and warmed my heart in a way I had never expected.”

Ms. McLamb considers the teaching profession to be tough, but ultimately rewarding. She comments, “It’s gritty and messy and challenging and beautiful and rewarding in ways one could never imagine. Relationships matter. Students need teachers who are going to show up every day even when it’s tough. Students need teachers that are going to push through the chaos to pull them into the calm. Students will rise to the occasion if they know you have their back. Push students to be great! Challenge their doubts and fears and show them that they can rise to the occasion. Students don’t need a Pinterest or Instagram worthy classroom to be successful. They need an adult that thinks they are worth the time and effort. More importantly, before you can teach the Blooms, you have to meet the Maslow. We need to recognize that many students face poverty, abuse and neglect before stepping foot into the building each morning. Showing up and working hard is just as important as winning a big game or competition. It takes grit and determination to overcome the odds. There is success in that!”