This month, Upstate Parent magazine honors 10 Upstate educators who are making a difference in the lives of children.

While it is certainly true that all educators — teachers, administrators, counselors — have the opportunities to make profound differences in the lives of our children, these are 10 of the educators that you — our readers — nominated. Consider these highlights:

  • “We strongly believe in a diverse community,” says Rodney Johnson, principal of Lead Academy Charter School. “We look different. We come from different parts of the county. We grow together and we make each other better.”
  • “There was never really a question in my mind that I wanted to be a teacher,” says Nicole McGaha, a teacher at Mitchell Road Elementary School. “There was never another option — it was teaching.”
  • “I am here to support them and offer a helping hand,” says Robyn Smith, a teacher at Rainbow Lake Middle School, of her students. “The more you connect with them, the more you can impact your students.”
  • “I think what really keeps me motivated is that I learn so much from the children I teach,” says Beverly Wade, a resource special education teacher at E.P Todd Elementary School. “I look forward to every school year. It’s been a wonderful life journey for me.”

You can read the full stories of these educators — and six others — right here online. I hope you will do so.

I personally know a number of teachers, and their dedication never ceases to amaze me. For most teachers, school does not end at 3:30 p.m. There are after-school tutoring sessions, band practices, speech and debate activities, and much more. The teachers I know — in public and private schools — are dedicated to their students, often going above and beyond what is expected.

Teachers can’t do their jobs, however, without you. Parental support is important. It starts in the home by teaching kids to be respectful and prepared. But parents can also help out in classrooms, at events and during fundraisers.

Finally, don’t forget to say these important two words: “Thank you.”

Congratulations to our honorees, and a big thank you to our readers for the nominations and to Classy Kids Child Development Center, our sponsor for this year’s 10 Educators Who Make a Difference.

Happy New Year!

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