Congrats HSJA Teacher of the Year Mrs. Ward

Congrats HSJA Teacher of the Year Mrs. Ward
Posted on 05/26/2020
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Every year, the HSSD proudly honors a Teacher of the Year for each of our schools. Teachers are nominated for the honor by their peers. The leadership team at each school asks those nominated to submit information about their work as an educator, and carefully reviews all responses before selecting the annual Teacher of the Year.

All six HSSD Teachers of the Year are then considered interviewed for the HSSD District Teacher of the Year by an outside committee of community members. Join us in celebrating each of our Teachers of the Year by hearing from all six outstanding educators in interviews and videos provided. The 2020 HSSD District Teacher of the Year will be announced on Friday, May 29.

Congratulations to Hot Springs Junior Academy Teacher of the Year Carla Ward. 

Mrs. Ward has been changing lives for three years at the Hot Springs School District, and 17 in all as an educator. She teaches 7th-8th grade Math and Math Intervention. 


Why did you become a teacher?

“When I was in school, I had wonderful teachers who always encouraged me to do my best. The teachers I had throughout my youth were truly inspirational. My favorite teachers always made me feel important, loved, and special. They knew that one day I would go on to do great things. I knew that I had to choose this career path so I could make students feel the same way that these teachers made me feel.  It wasn't even about the subject matter that was taught. It was about the connection I felt to these teachers throughout my years in school. Because of these teachers, I love school and education. To this day, I want to pursue education, learn as much as I can, and inspire others to do the same.”


What is your favorite/most inspiring story about your career in teaching?
About eight years ago, I taught fifth grade at a school in Morehouse Parish. The school has recently closed its doors and consolidated due to the town's mill shutting down. I knew that these fifth graders had never traveled much and I knew that most of their parents or relatives had never graduated from high school or college. I could tell that these students wanted to learn, but they didn't really see the importance of education. I wanted them to understand that education is the ticket to get out of a dying town and a way to create a better life.  So that year, I decided to book a tour of two college campuses that were about an hour and a half away from our school. We visited Grambling University and Louisiana Tech. These students had the time of their lives that day. I could tell that I had sparked a desire to graduate high school one day, and even possibly to go to college. The students were greeted by the ambassadors of the schools. These ambassadors were students that they could relate to and aspire to be one day. My students could see that someone just like them decided to go to college and do something better with their lives.  My students asked questions and were on their best behavior all day. I knew that this trip meant a lot to my students and it would be a day that they would never forget. Sometimes you have to allow students to ‘see’ the importance of education before they begin to recognize it themselves.  I know some of those students went to college and maybe some of them even became teachers like me.”


If you could give one message to your students, that you hope they remember above all other things that you've taught them, what would it be?


“I want students to know that beyond all the math that I have taught them, that I truly cared about them. I want them to know that when they were in my classroom, they were loved and understood. I want them to know that I thought they were special,  talented, smart, and unique. I want them to know that I am proud of them and I will always believe in them no matter what they choose to do in life.” 


VIDEO: Hear/watch more from Mrs. Ward about why education is so important, and what she hopes for all students to remember in a video spotlight, here. 

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