I’m Meghan Everette and I teach 4th grade in Mobile, Alabama, at George Hall Elementary School.
Eight years ago, George Hall Elementary was one of the lowest performing schools in the state. Then the school system installed new leadership, and we are now the Department of Education’s National Turn-Around Model and a Blue-Ribbon School —and those are just a few of our many accolades and titles. Situated in the Maysville community, Hall is 99 percent African American and 99 percent free-and-reduced lunch. Ninety-nine percent of our students live within a two-mile radius of the school in urban public housing.
Our school has a student body of approximately 540 from PreK to 5th grade, including three 4th-grade classrooms. There is a large transient population in our area due to changing living conditions, and my class is typically composed of 18 to 22 9- and 10-year-olds from large families. I teach an inclusion class and usually have several students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). My students are with me all but 50 minutes each day, when they attend PE, music, or computer lab. I also coordinate the Youth in Engineering program at our school, as well as Box Tops and other collection projects, and I’m the lead math teacher and grade level chair for 4th grade.
I didn’t start out as an educator. I have a Master’s in Advertising and Public Relations, but I kept taking jobs that were school-related. Finally, my husband said if I enjoyed being in school that much, I should just teach. I started on my path to a Master’s in Elementary Education and haven’t looked back. I sought a job in an underprivileged school knowing that I could get an emergency certificate my first year of teaching. I found George Hall and landed in 3rd grade, where an amazing mentor was put in my classroom for three weeks (and again periodically throughout the year). Because of her and the general school culture, my jumping off point turned into a permanent landing place. That mentor was also present this year when I was named Alabama’s Elementary Teacher of the Year and Alternate State Teacher of the Year.
I have a strong love of art and technology. Our school is a SMART demonstration site, and I strive to find different, engaging ways to use technology all the time. We record plays and perform them as puppet shows, write and edit mock newscasts from the past, and learn about geometry through Kandinsky paintings. As I place a premium on student reading, I lead elaborate themed units through novel studies and proudly display a large, leveled classroom library. Math and science come alive through hands-on experiments. I also have extremely high expectations for discipline. We have fun, but we also know how to work hard.
In my non-teacher life, I’m a married mother of two young boys in PreK and 1st grade. I enjoy crafting, painting, the nearby white-sand beaches, and spoiling my little sister’s children. We take full advantage of living in a warm climate by participating in local sports and attending University of Alabama football games. Roll Tide, ya’ll!