Delaney Holloway decided to venture into the public education field because she strongly believes that every child should have access to a quality education. It is because of that belief and dedication that Holloway has been named the Macon County Teacher of the Year.
“I have said many times that I feel that the level of teachers and personnel in my school and in my county is of the highest quality,” said Holloway. “Having a group of people which I admire so much nominate me for this distinction is humbling. I am so impressed by the skill and dedication I see from my coworkers every day. I am truly so proud to work in the school system in which I do and to call the teachers in this county my colleagues.”
A Hayesville, North Carolina native, Holloway found her way to Macon County when she was in college at Western Carolina University. During her student teaching, Holloway was assigned to South Macon Elementary school where she, “fell in love with this school and this area.”
“At the end of my student teaching at South Macon, I was so fortunate to be able to accept a position there in kindergarten,” she said. “This is my seventh year teaching and I have taught kindergarten at South Macon since I began teaching.”
Holloway graduated from Western Carolina University with a degree in Elementary Education and recently earned her graduate degree, also from Western Carolina University, in the spring of 2013. Holloway is the second consecutive teacher to earn the district’s highest title, with first grade teacher Melissa Faetz receiving the honor last year.
The decision to be a teacher was an easy one for Holloway. “I believe strongly that everyone should have access to a quality education in which we are provided the skills and knowledge that can allow us to achieve whatever it is that we desire for our futures,” said Holloway. “I wanted to be a part of this picture for children in Western North Carolina. I wanted to not only provide the tools and experiences necessary for a young child to develop a love of learning but also to think of these young children as future career holders, college students, and citizens and consider how I could best provide them with the foundational skills they will need for these roles in the future.”
Now in her seventh year, she is a seasoned veteran. She has experienced the trials and tribulations that come along with the job, and has conquered all of it with fierce determination. According to Holloway, the hardest part of her teaching experience to date has been making sure her classroom is adequately equipped with resources, even when the funding for such is not available.
“Having the training and expertise to know how to best meet the needs of the students in your classroom, but having to struggle for the resources and funds to do so is the hardest part about being a teacher in my opinion,” she said. “Macon County has done an outstanding job of supporting its teachers in tough economic times, but having the resources and personnel needed for a school and classroom to truly thrive has been a struggle during my years in education. I hope that there will be a shift at the state level which involves public education and students taking top priority. I can’t think of any better investment than the innocent and eager to learn faces I see in my classroom each day.”
She isn't a one woman operation, however. Holloway credits much of her success to having the help of an assistant.
“My assistant, Leslie Day, is such a vital part of my classroom that I can’t discuss my feelings about education without mentioning her,” said Holloway. “The students in my classroom receive such a higher quality of care and education because she is there and always ready to help them in any way she can all the while with a smile on her face.”
Despite the challenges, Holloway approaches each work day as an opportunity to brighten the lives of her students; to teach them something that they can carry into the world and use to enhance their futures.
“My favorite part of being a teacher is that I have the opportunity every day to make young people feel as good about themselves as I possibly can,” she said. “The look on a child’s face when she has learned something new, seeing the confidence a child builds in himself as he completes a task that may have at first seemed difficult to him, or even just simply the smile that results from telling a child “good morning” and letting her know you are happy to see her that day are all things that I am so fortunate to get to experience each day in my job.”
Holloway never plays it safe. The creativity and adventure she employs in her teaching is something she considers necessary and beneficial.
“I believe that learning is both a very exciting and messy process which is hallmarked by many characteristics such as; the ability to persevere, the motivation to investigate, accepting the joy and struggle of trial and error, and in some cases the willingness to take the risk of really trying for something,” she said. “Taking time to help a student feel good about themselves or feel successful as a learner so that they may feel more comfortable about embarking on this wonderful challenge of learning, is something that I not only really enjoy about what I do, but also think it is one of the most worthwhile duties of an educator.”