Jessie Moon was selected as the Social Circle City Schools Teacher of the Year. At Social Circle Elementary School, Moon teaches reading to third and fourth graders. Photo credit: Stephen Milligan – The Walton Tribune
Jessie Moon didn’t start out with a driving passion for teaching.
Growing up, teaching wasn’t a profession she considered for her future. When she graduated from Georgia State University, it was with a degree in anthropology and archeology, but suddenly she found herself in need of a job and jumped into education in what she thought would be a simple stopgap position.
“I never thought I’d be a teacher,” Moon said. “But I needed a job so I started doing it.”
It didn’t take long for her to realize she’d found her calling after all.
“I loved it,” Moon said.
Now, 16 years later, Moon has come a long way from that reluctant paraprofessional who saw her job as a simple wage-earning position. She’s spent the last six years at Social Circle Elementary School and earned the love of her students and co-workers, who this year chose her as the Teacher of the Year for the Social Circle City Schools district.
“It’s incredibly exciting and humbling,” Moon said. “I don’t take it lightly.”
Moon grew up in Covington, graduating from Eastside High School and going on to Georgia State before returning to Eastside as a parapro. There, she quickly found that passion for teaching she hadn’t expected, spending eight years at her alma mater before moving to Atha Road Elementary School for a single year.
At SCES, Moon teaches reading to third and fourth graders, particularly working to help struggling students catch up with their peers to read at grade level. She said working with kids to shape and mold them for the future is one of the most important parts of her job.
“I’m changing the trajectory of their lives,” Moon said. “I’m teaching them to read, but I’m also teaching them to be resilient. It’s the whole child approach.”
As the mother of two children herself, an 11-year-old daughter and 8-year-old boy, Moon knows children need a lot of attention to reach their potential and works to help each of her students do the same.
It’s made her a well-loved teacher with her kids, who were quite thrilled to see her receive the honor, not only of Teacher of the Year for SCES, but for the entire district.
“I was not expecting it,” Moon said. “They came in to announce it and brought me flowers. All my kids were so excited. I was just speechless.”
Now, the teacher who found her calling by accident wouldn’t dream of doing anything else, a dedication that has made her Teacher of the Year for Social Circle, but she said she’s just doing what any teacher would do to help her students excel.
“We’re all working to help our kids,” Moon said.