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Meet Jessica Cain, Hall County's district teacher of the year
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Lanier Elementary's Jessica Cain reads with first-grader Cali Wingo Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, during class. Cain has been named Hall County Schools' district Teacher of the Year. - photo by Scott Rogers

After finishing a project on “The Crucible” in an honors American literature class, Jessica Cain had a moment of discovery. 

“I realized that I wanted to be a teacher that infused the same passion into my classroom,” Cain said. “One that utilizes inquiry, creativity and relevance while teaching my students.”

Since graduating from East Hall High School, Cain has strived to reach that goal. 

She served as a student teacher at Lanier Elementary School from 2012-2013, then was hired on as a kindergarten paraprofessional after she earned her bachelor’s in education. 

In 2014, she began her first year as a teacher at Lanier Elementary, and has been a first grade teacher there ever since. 

“I’m a proud product of the Hall County school system,” Cain said. “My favorite thing about teaching first grade is being able to teach students how to read and being able to see the enormous amount of growth in their abilities, from when they begin to when they transition to second graders.”

Cain’s efforts were recognized when she was recently named Hall County Schools’ systemwide teacher of the year.

“I was shocked beyond belief,” Cain said. “Most of my biggest heroes and role models are employed as teachers in Hall County, who are deserving of this special achievement and recognition.”

Cain describes her teaching style as “student centered.” She said she makes sure to involve students in their learning, while keeping the lessons engaging and relevant.

“I love seeing my students develop a passion for reading and become expert word solvers,” Cain said. “I’m able to see students fall in love with books and figure out that reading isn’t quite so hard after all.” 

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Lanier Elementary's Jessica Cain works with a group of her first graders Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, as they read a book together. Cain has been named Hall County Schools' district teacher of the year. - photo by Scott Rogers

Cain chose to decorate her room in a Disney World theme, with the hopes of imparting the sense of wonder she gets when visiting the famous theme park.

“As an adult, my favorite place to visit is Disney World because it truly is ‘the happiest place on Earth,’” she said. “I want my students to enjoy coming to school every day and for it to be a safe place filled with learning, love and fun.”

As a mother of two, Cain said one of the biggest challenges she faces as a teacher is balancing her two roles. 

Her teaching job often requires her to work long after students go home. Although it proved difficult at first, Cain said she now realizes that her time at home with her children helps make her a better teacher, and her time in the classroom helps push her to be a better mom. 

Like many teachers, Cain relishes those “aha!” moments. 

She said all of her efforts as a teacher feel worth it when her students meet their goals.

“Being able to see my students grow, move into other grades and continue to walk into my classroom each morning with a high-five, a hug, or tell me something they have achieved — whether it be winning a football superbowl, acing their math facts test or being adopted — have been some of the most special moments to me.”

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Lanier Elementary's Jessica Cain reads with first grader Laney Padgett Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, during class. Cain has been named Hall County Schools' district teacher of the year. - photo by Scott Rogers