It wasn’t the job Brigitte Holmes imagined she would be doing, but it’s the one she has grown to love. For 15 years, Holmes was a veterinary nurse before life circumstances required a career change.
Now the forensics and science teacher at Hephzibah High is one of five finalists for Teacher of the Year in the Richmond County School System. On Thursday, Holmes, Denise Pennywell (Glenn Hills Elementary), Kia Mills (A.R. Johnson Magnet), Tonya Fulton (Morgan Road Middle) and Sandra Owens (Freedom Park Elementary) will gather for the the Teacher of the Year Banquet at the Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center. The recipient will receive a car, trophy, gift certificates and more.
Holmes said that winning would be an affirmation of the decision she made to become a teacher 15 years ago. She has e xperienced other benefits with her career change including establishing relationships with her students, a valuable part of teaching in high school
“I feel that it is important to establish that relationship with my students so that they don’t feel invisible,” she said. “I can discover their gifts and their interests and incorporate those things into lessons that will hold greater relevance and meaning for my students. I have learned to be present for my students, learning with them as much as teaching them.”
With those relationships, Holmes hopes to have made a difference in how they think and react to the world around them.
“I hope that I have instilled in my students the ability to be awed by the mysterious, to be curious about the unknown, to be brave when life is unsettled, to stand up for what is right, to recognize others’ gifts, to respect opinions of others even if they differ from your own, and to recognize obstacles as opportunities,” she said.