Waccamaw School teacher wins ‘Teacher of the Week’

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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Some of the morals and basic life lessons we remember as adults were instilled by school teachers.

Leslie Raynor teaches her students at Waccamaw School morals by having them read fables and other stories but she says her students need more than academics to succeed.

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“I want them to have life skills,” she said. “Every day they hear me say ‘be kind, no matter what.'”

A 2006 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Raynor has taught 15 years and most of her career has been at Waccamaw School.

The ‘Teacher of the Week’ nomination WWAY received commended Raynor for caring about her students’ education and equipping them with the tools they need to succeed in school.

What drives her passion for teaching?

“I want them to be successful,” she said. “I know many kids struggle, they have a hard life and I want them to see that they can go beyond their circumstance now.”

The key to maintaining a child’s interest, Raynor says, is to make lessons relatable to real life and keeping them active.

“I don’t like having them sitting there for any long periods of time,” she said. “Any time we take a break I turn music on, and I always try to get them up and talking as much as I can.”

Principal Roman Kelley says a number of qualities contribute to Raynor’s effectiveness in the classroom.

“She’s always where she’s supposed to be, she’s always doing what she’s supposed to do, and she’s doing it well,” he said. “She’s just a good person, a great teacher, but she’d be good wherever we put her.”

Kelley says the last year has posed numerous challenges for educators who have had to constantly adjust to changes caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Raynor has successfully managed to keep students engaged about learning by doing fun exercises like debating.

“You could just feel the excitement while the kids were learning,” Kelley said. “Being able to debate when you’re nine years old, that’s going to carry them places, that’s going to help them in the future.”

Raynor says she was surprised to be named ‘Teacher of the Week.’

“Its awesome that someone notices what I’m doing and trying to make a difference and be positive,” she said.

If you know a teacher who is making a big impact in the classroom, click here to submit a nomination. Each week’s winner receives a $100 gift card thanks to our sponsoring partner, Down East Heating and Air Conditioning.