Since 1993, Ripley Elementary School Teacher Leslie Clayberger Haynes has worked hard to make a difference in the lives of her students.
“I became an educator to reach students who need extra help, in ways that can be relevant to those students. A determined teacher can make the difference between a student who wants to learn and a student who feels incapable of learning.”
As a Title I Reading Specialist and Interventionist, Mrs. Haynes said the best part of her job is building relationships with families, which ultimately impact their children.
“Families are more likely to seek assistance and guidance and know how to work with their children when they feel connected to teachers in their children s school. West Virginia maintains an incredibly talented contingent of education professionals and service personnel. These people wear their hearts on their sleeves and take every opportunity to connect with children on each child’s level. The success of West Virginian education is rooted in the support of every educator each child has had.”
Like many educators, Mrs. Haynes said she experienced challenges during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic when teachers across the country had to pivot and adapt. These circumstances resulted in an eye-opening experience that impacts her still today.
“When schools were abruptly closed for the COVID-19 pandemic, all of our jobs changed instantly. I became a part of a large group of Jackson County Schools employees who delivered food to students who lived outside of walking distance to the schools. To see all the bus drivers, cooks, custodians, aides, maintenance, administrators, and teachers come together to serve the students and their families made me realize just how much we naturally take care of our kids, and how that relationship supersedes the school building during the workday. Further, to know my colleagues were working day and night to reach out to and teach our students – quickly learning new programs and skills – instilled a deep pride of our state in me. No matter what, West Virginians rise to the occasion.”
In 2021, Mrs. Haynes renewed in National Board Certification in Literacy: Reading-Language Arts/Early and Middle Childhood. When Mrs. Haynes isn’t busy making a positive impact on her school community, she is active on stage and behind-the-scenes with Jackson County Players and spends much time with the Ripley High School Viking Marching Band as a band boosters’ officer. She has been married for 22 years, and together they share a 20-year-old son and 17-year-old daughter, along with nine spoiled cats and four pampered dogs.