“Second grade is a grade of incredible growth. I love seeing the students change and grow academically and mature during the year,” said Mrs. Samantha Willis. “Students transition from learning to read to reading to learn in second grade, and I aim to add loving to read to that transition.”
Mrs. Willis has been a teacher for 25 years at Rehobeth Elementary in Dothan, Alabama. She decided to begin teaching because of her love for children. Mrs. Willis describes herself as a kid at heart and explains that teaching allows her to embrace that. She graduated with a Master’s degree in Elementary Education from Troy University.
“I felt becoming a teacher would allow me to spend time with children while helping them grow to be the best version of themselves,” she said. Outside of a strong love for reading, Mrs. Willis hopes her students will leave her classroom knowing their value.
“I want them to know they are not their grade,” Mrs. Willis explained. “They are a child of God. Who they are is what is in their heart, their words, and their actions. High grades, fancy clothes, and expensive things will not change that.”
Mrs. Willis was nominated as our Wiregrass Teacher of the Month by Katelyn Carter, whose daughter is currently in Mrs. Willis’ second-grade class.
“She is really helping my daughter push her reading skills to new levels and encouraging so much growth in reading, which my daughter is developing such a passion for,” said Katelyn.
Mrs. Willis attributes her motivation to teach to teaching the kids to read.
“I feel a great responsibility to improve each child’s reading ability. Although I am not, I look at it as if I will be their last reading teacher,” said Mrs. Willis. “I must do all I can to have each child reading on grade level to prepare them for the future. So, I teach reading with passion and great urgency. I want to set them up for success.”
Samantha Willis has been married to her husband Billy for 28 years. They have two children, Abby [Taylor] Lee and Adam. They are active members at Covenant United Methodist Church. Mrs. Willis is their church relations volunteer with Operation Christmas Child. The family enjoys traveling, playing cards and putting puzzles together.