BURGAW, NC (WWAY) — Tiffany Hansley-Jones teaches exceptional children or students with special needs at Burgaw Elementary School.
One of her students is Cayden Houghtaling, a first grader with Autism, anxiety and Tourette syndrome.
“She has done an amazing job with him, I’ve seen him with the other students also and she’s just done above and beyond what she has to do,” said Melissa Houghtaling, Cayden’s adoptive mother. “When he’s here, he’s safe, we know that’s he’s learning, we know that he’s with his peers who are similar to him, we know that he’s where he belongs.”
Because of the kind comments she had to say about Hansley-Jones, we picked her as our Teacher of the Week sponsored by Wilmington Granite.
A graduate of UNC Greensboro, the 2019-2020 school year is her second year as a teacher. Tiffany-Hansley was quite surprised to learn she was selected as our ‘Teacher of the Week.’
“Oh, my goodness, I was speechless for sure, very emotional as I’m getting right now,” Hansley-Jones said. “When I set out to do this, it wasn’t my goal to get recognition.”
Each student in her class has a personalized education plan based on their academic, social, emotional or physical abilities.
“Children are delicate creatures and a blessing, so serve them wherever you go, whenever you can, however you can,” Hansley-Jones said. “Tomorrow might not grant you the opportunity to do that so do it right then, right there, and that’s going to help you develop children who’s going to be beneficial [not only] to their households but to the community and nation at large.”
Hansley-Jones receives high marks from BES Principal Stephen Buchanan.
“What you see in her is no joke, that’s the way Tiffany is every moment, she loves those kids, they’re her kids, she laughs with them, she cries with them, she does everything that needs to be done with her children no matter what,” Buchanan said.
We asked him why he felt she got so emotional when we walked into her class and announced why we were there.
“I think you saw her realizing that all of her hard work is being noticed, she’s in the right place,” he said. “She’s a lady of faith and I think that was her coming to know in her heart that I am in the right place because education is hard. Some days you’re like – I just don’t know if this is what I need to be doing.”
For now, Hansley-Jones says this is exactly where she needs to be and she’s taking it one day at a time.
“I don’t do what I do to get praise or recognition from anyone, but when you are recognized — its an amazing feeling, it really is,” she said.
Amazing, perhaps, because she gets to help students like Cayden and his classmates work toward achieving their personal best.
If you know an exceptional teacher doing remarkable things in the classroom, click here to nominate them for our Teacher of the Week award sponsored by Wilmington Granite.