Our Welcome To Sanford Lee County Teacher of the Week is Mrs. Dee O’Neal of J. Glenn Edwards Elementary School. Mrs. O’Neal has been a teacher for 17 years, the past three of which have been at Edwards. She holds a Masters of Education from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and also has her National Boards.
In addition to being a fifth-grade science teacher, Mrs. O’Neal is also an animal lover — she has three dogs, two cats, a guinea pig, a bearded dragon, three betta fish as well as a horse. The guinea pig, betta fish and bearded dragon are members of her classroom, but only because the others are not allowed in school.
Like Mrs. O’Neal, her teaching philosophy is creative. J. Glenn Edwards is the only elementary school in Lee County where all fifth-grade students go to a science class for 50 minutes every day, so its important to keep students engaged in subject matter. Mrs. O’Neal notes, “Teaching and entertaining go hand in hand. When you get bored with a program, you change the television channel. My job is to keep my students so engaged they not only want to watch the program, but be a part of the show. My students’ accomplishments are mine too, all of which make me very proud to be a part of.”
Mrs. O’Neal’s peers would use this phrase to describe her: “Oh my word, what is she doing now?!”
In her free time, Mrs. O’Neal loves to ride and train her horse in local competitions in the Working Western division. For Valentine’s Day several years ago, Mrs. O’Neal’s husband gave her the horse she competes with. She says “I have gone from learning to stay in the saddle to competing in shows and sorting cattle.”