Dr. Joan Beers says goodbye to BHS after 25 years

Published 6:20 pm Tuesday, May 12, 2015

By Taylor Bush

Special to The Post-Searchlight

After 25 years of her service, Bainbridge High School is bidding farewell to Dr. Joan Beers, the Teacher of the Year. In her time at BHS, Beers has impacted the lives of countless students and faculty members who are sad to see her retire. Beers has received many awards for her excellent teaching methods which place high importance on her interaction with the students. “Dr. Beers goes beyond being just my teacher. I think her other students will agree with me when I say that Dr. Beers does an excellent job building relationships with us to help us want to succeed in her classes. I am really glad she was named BHS Teacher of the Year,” says Ashton Rentz, a student of Beers.

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Receiving the BHS Teacher of the Year Award is one of the highest honors offered to BHS faculty. All teachers at BHS nominate one colleague to be considered for the award. The three teachers with the most nominations will then be reviewed by a committee who evaluates the teachers’ involvement in the school and community and the effectiveness of their teaching methods. The committee carefully chooses a winner who is named BHS Teacher of the Year and is recognized in the Hall of Honors. All schools under the Decatur County Board of Education choose a Teacher of the Year to represent the school. Beers has proven to be an excellent choice for Teacher of the Year. Heidi Chambers, an English teacher at BHS and close friend of Beers, states her belief that Beers was the perfect choice for the award by saying, “She is one of the best teachers I have ever seen. She is a phenomenal writing teacher, and her students’ test scores are always among the highest in the school.”

Joan Beers was born in Pennsylvania but has spent most of her life in Georgia. She began teaching at Bainbridge State College in 1983 when she moved to Bainbridge from Gwinnett County. At Bainbridge State College, Beers taught a Displaced Homemakers course which offered training on skills needed to support a home. Her career at BHS began in 1993 where she has taught Advanced Placement (AP) Language, Pre AP American Literature, American Literature, Pre AP 9th Grade Literature, 9th Grade Literature, Advanced Composition, and British Literature. “Students are not aware of how invested teachers get in the lives of the students,” declares Beers, “I am rewarded as a teacher when I see my students want to learn and do well.” Many students have passed through the classroom of Joan Beers with only good things to report on their instructor.

Beers has acquired an impressive education over the years. Her credentials include an undergraduate degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, a Master’s Degree from Valdosta State University, and a Doctorate from NOVA Southeastern. Her love for teaching is very clear when she speaks about her profession. “Being a teacher has given me a daily purpose. It gives me something to accomplish each day with my students and colleagues,” says Beers.

In past years, her teaching skills have earned her STAR Teacher of BHS three times. Beers has also been awarded Key Club Teacher of the Year and Kiwanis Teacher of the Year multiple times. “Her dedication to BHS and to her students is apparent in the hours of grading she does on her personal time as well as on the growth that her students experience,” according to Heidi Chambers. It was no surprise to the students or faculty of BHS that Beers was awarded Teacher of the Year.

Beers is retiring after 25 years of devoting time to BHS, but she does not plan to cut off her ties to her students. Beers continues to watch her students grow as they move on to the next stage of life. “I still keep in touch with my past students, revising their college papers and staying updated on the progression of their education,” says Beers. Retiring from BHS will not be the end of her helping young writers learn and improve.

The last day of the 2014-2015 school year will be a sad day for those saying goodbye to Joan Beers. “We have taught together for 20 years,” explains Chambers, “While I am really excited for her, the void of her leaving will be impossible to fill.”