• Keleen Cody wore pajamas for “Pajama Day” at Jack P. Nix Primary. She is shown with students Liana Yeh and Sophia S. Clair in her classroom’s reading loft. (Photo/Linda Erbele)

Cody always wanted to teach

Keleen Cody knew as far back as high school that she wanted to teach. She attended school in Lakeland, Fla., and her high school had a day-care center at which she worked.
“I felt like I had found what I was supposed to do,” she said.
While she grew up in Florida, her family had a cabin in Suches, so she spent summers and holidays in the North Georgia Mountains. So it was natural for her to wind up in White County.
She went to Florida Southern for her undergraduate degree, then to Piedmont College for her master’s and specialist degrees. She has been a teacher for 24 years.
“It’s so humbling to be recognized by your peers,” she said, when asked about being named Teacher of the Year at Jack P. Nix Primary. “It’s such a special thing. It suprised me and is an honor, especially since this is Jack P. Nix’s last year as a primary school.”
She described her coworkers as family.
“We don’t do it for the titles,” she said. “We just love working with and teaching children.”
She believes that children learn in a lot of different ways, and that it is her job to pull them all together.
“It takes a lot of time and planning,” she added. “I feel like it needs to be in a safe, positive environment that is conductive to learning. If they don’t feel safe enough (with the teacher) to take a risk, they’re not going to open up to learning.”

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