LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Holley Todd

Position: 4th Grade ELA
School: Waresboro Elementary School
School District: Ware County Schools
City, State: Waycross, GA

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Holley Todd was nominated by her Principal, Jenny Barnes.

Holley Todd is a LifeChanger, every single day. She was recognized by her colleagues system-wide as she was selected as her school and school system teacher of the year. She has touched so many lives in her years of patient, loving, and effective teaching. Her commitment to producing a nurturing environment for her students is of utmost importance to her, and she truly views teaching as part of her purpose-driven life.

Last year, Mrs. Todd tragically and unexpectedly lost her daughter. She returned to school only a week later to continue teaching her students with passion and dedication. In spite of this tragedy, her student achievement was among the highest in the state of Georgia, and she continues to teach with that same passion to this very day.  While she battles to survive the grief over losing a child, she continues to see her job of teaching and touching the lives of her students as one of her purposes in life. As part of her state teacher of the year application, Mrs. Todd wrote the following:

   “My message to my students is “You are enough.” No matter your home, your clothes, your size, your talents or your faults—You are enough. You can meet the challenges of this world, and I’m here to help you learn how to do this. You are more than a test score. You are more than a data point in a CCRPI matrix. You are more than a bubble on my personal growth screen in SLDS. You are a human being who breathes, hurts, smiles, and dreams. You are my responsibility, and I hold you dear because you are mine. I might be the only one who claims you, the only one who sees that you have a future, but I do because you are enough. And, teachers, we are enough. We can do this—together. I have weaknesses, but they are your strengths. When I’m tired, you have a helping hand. When I’m grieving, you let me cry on your shoulder. We have a most awesome responsibility, and I know that it seems our success is measured in platforms and ratings, but in reality our true success is measured in intangibles that no algorithm can quantify. We can do this—together. We are enough.”  

"She is truly amazing and among a rare breed of teachers," Barnes said.

Comments (6)

Yvonne Lott Posted over a year ago

Congratulations Mrs. Todd! After working in the classroom with you for three years, I know your passion for teaching and dedication to serving our youths. You make learning interesting. Your teaching style does not enlighten others only, it sparks their creativity; it motivates, and I offers hope for a promising future. I realize sometimes teachers are not aware of their impact because they are often faced with many challenges, in addition to meeting many expectations. Furthermore, I know first-hand the differences you make are not always measurable or known to others unless shared by those you have impacted. You've impacted my life while working in the classroom with you. Like your students, I learned from you too. As an aspiring writer, you inspired me to continue writing and accomplish one of my goals of furthering my education without knowing it. I have completed my Bachelors of Art in English. It does not stop there, the skills I have acquired created a sense of confidence. For these reasons, along with others, I can truly say, "I am enough!" Mrs. Todd, on my behalf and your students, we want you to know "you are enough!"

Denise Welch Posted over a year ago

I’ve known this family for years through athletics & school. Holly always was a loving mom & giving. She often took my kids along with hers to swim meets. Her children always well behaved and loving also to my kids. Holly also taught my children. I always lacked the skill to write well and prayed my children would excel in that area. My kids will tell you she was one of the teachers they learned so much from. I remember they would share with us the discussions in class. It was one of the few times my kids were excited to learn. The teaching profession is a field that one truly needs to be called to serve. We all know how difficult it is to reach someone with great needs. I too work with children . I also see the broken homes the broken spirits. I pray I will make a difference in some child’s day, I want to thank Holly & commend her for her devotion & loving spirit! Also her sharing her talents with each child! Thank Holly for all you gave my children & all you continue to give!

Karen Medlock Posted over a year ago

As a teacher, I needed to read this!! ALL teachers need to read this. We are enough; that statement is life changing! Thank you, Mrs Todd!

Chantale Posted over a year ago

You and your family are definitely more than "enough"!your strength,love and determination to make this world better just leaves me and others in admiration... hope to see you one day...maybe at a FCHS reunion..??????

Patty Clark Posted over a year ago

Love this message and know that you are a Life Changer. Even through all the hurts and struggles of Your own you continue to put others first. Wish other teachers had your passion, love and dedication. We are Enough!

Colleen Lagoueyte Posted over a year ago

“You are enough.” When Mrs. Holley Todd first spoke those words, I cried. Hard. They touched me. I am a third grade teacher and have the pleasure of working with Holley. Every day, I pray that I will be enough for the children, and often, I fear I will fall short. Their needs are much greater than anything I can teach them in a book. Holley is a life changer. When I worry about my children so much that I can’t sleep, I feel her support. Because of her encouragement, I’ve become a better, calmer, and more loving teacher. With the rigorous state standards and the looming, menacing state test, I needed to hear that “I am enough.” It tells me that if I do my best every day, the children will be successful despite any problems they may face. When they cry (and they do) from fear of passing, because of her, I know exactly what to say. “You are enough.” When Holley lost her beautiful daughter, Eveann, I froze; but she did not. We are a small community here. We all know each other’s children. In fact, our children grew up together, and we were all devastated. Holley took the lead. She told us we were enough. She gave us courage to face the day. With just a few weeks away from the state test, Holley didn’t want her students to fear failure. She returned to work almost immediately. She gave everything to her students. As a result, her students did an awesome job and made our school shine. She helped us all, students and faculty, come together to support one another with her kind message that we could do it because “We are enough.”