Exceptional children’s teacher helps students with academic goals

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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Each week we receive nominations from viewers about great teachers across the Cape Fear. Recently, we learned about an exceptional children’s teacher who works hard to make sure her students stay on track with their academic goals.

WWAY’s Jeff Rivenbark went to Shallotte for this week’s Teacher of the Week.

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Adding and subtracting decimals can be tedious work, but Shallotte Middle School sixth graders are pretty good at it.

“I love kids,” teacher Jessica Milligan said. “I always loved kids, even when I was a kid.”

A Virginia native, Jessica Milligan earned her teaching degree from UNCW. She’s been teaching seven years.



“The biggest thing is having that relationship with my students, knowing who my kids are, and I know how to incorporate their learning style best,” Milligan said.

As an exceptional children’s resource teacher she closely works with 30, sixth-graders with ADHD, autism, or other learning challenges.

“I go into the classrooms, and I co-teach with the regular ed teacher,” Milligan said. “I teach all the students in the class, not just the ones that are labeled.”

Shallotte Middle School Principal Marie LaBoy says providing customized learning for these students isn’t easy.

“She has to know exactly what those kids’ goals are and make sure she’s delivering the service, the extra resources that they need so that they can learn and grow in math, reading and all their subjects, so she really has to study her kids, understand their learning needs, and then figure out how to best target them so they can be successful in school,” LaBoy said.

In just two years at the school, Milligan has quickly risen as a leader becoming chair of her department.

“It’s not just only her direct services, but the background work of the paperwork and the testing and requirements of the Exceptional Children’s program,” LaBoy said. “She has two children of her own. She’s a young teacher in the profession. That’s the kind of person that we need to stay in education. We need to lift those ladies and gentlemen up so that they can help rise our children up for the future. So she really is an all around, amazing, outstanding young person.”

“I’m honored, it feels great. I had no idea,” Milligan said when asked how she felt about being Mattress and Furniture Liquidators’ “Teacher of the Week”. “I really didn’t think in my position, that I’d be nominated. I’m kinda in the background, so I didn’t really think somebody would nominate me, and I think its pretty awesome.”

“Even for those teachers that may not have a designated classroom, they feel sometimes as a ghost in the school, a background, so in our school we try to make sure all of our teachers are part of teams they work and plan together and we try to recognize them as much as possible so that they know they’re all superstars for our kids,” LaBoy said.

“I just know this is the place where I need to be is with students and families and in the community and this is the best place to serve,” Milligan said.

Here’s how to nominate a teacher you know who is making an impact in the classroom.