2021 Extraordinary Educators: Florence Joyner
Great communities have great schools. High Point Schools Partnership creates impactful connections between our schools and the wider community to ensure students and their families are supported and can reach their full potential in High Point schools.
Part of High Point Schools Partnerships’ mission is to improve the image of our schools through storytelling. Who better to tell the stories of High Point’s schools than the people experiencing it first-hand? In this series of eight articles, we will highlight our 2021 High Point Extraordinary Educators as we dive deeper into what keeps them motivated in the face of constant challenges.
Florence Joyner has worked at Allen Jay Elementary School for the last 4 years.
Carla Flores-Ballesteros, Allen Jay Elementary School’s principal, nominated Ms. Florence Joyner as AJE’s 2021 Extraordinary Educator because Joyner “closely collaborates with the classroom teachers to provide systems of support for her students and to personalize learning for them.”
Ms. Joyner’s students “consistently meet or exceed expected growth from the beginning to the end of the school year” and she “communicates with parents effectively and provides resources to help them support their students.”
Ms. Joyner wants her students and families to know that this level of achievement is only possible when working together “as a team.” Ms. Joyner points out that as a team, there is “a shared goal and a shared commitment of giving seeds of knowledge, curiosity, encouragement, love, nurturement, and advocacy for our scholars,” which is truly what makes them thrive. It takes a whole village to raise our children, not just our educators.
Q: What inspired you to become an educator?
A: I was inspired to be an educator when I was reflecting on myself as a student. I wasn’t the brightest student, I was so afraid of asking questions and even speaking in class. So, as a student, I struggled. I wanted to become that voice for students who oftentimes (though unintentionally) get overlooked. I wanted to make sure students with disabilities knew that they too, can learn. I wanted to be that voice of encouragement and I wanted to be an advocate.
Q: What’s your teaching/leadership style?
A: As an EC Teacher, I am flexible in my teaching style. I am also very reflective. I find that I must be a reflective teacher in order to figure out new ways to teach my students. My students learn on different levels and have different abilities. As their EC Teacher, it is my duty to develop ways to teach them where they are and present them with realistic challenges and goals to allow them to grow academically, mentally, and emotionally. I also assure them that I am with them every step of the way.
Q: Do you have a classroom motto or philosophy you abide by? Why?
A: A quote that has stuck with me is “Every child deserves a champion–an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists that they be the best that they can possibly be.” This quote speaks volumes to an EC Teacher, as sometimes students with learning disabilities get discouraged and don’t realize their potential. Students need to know that even on their “not so good” days, their teacher is not going to give up on them. As an educator, I will continue to push and encourage my students to reach the next level. Having a true connection with students is important. With an established connection, they will begin to understand that when we insist on presenting them with challenges, it’s for them to grow and flourish.
Q: What’s your favorite part about every day?
A: I would have to say the best part of my day is when I get to witness student growth. Whether it’s academically, behaviorally, emotionally, or even when I get the pleasure of seeing my student ask questions about what they have read, or express curiosity about a topic discussed in class, it shows me that they are reflecting and wanting to learn more.
Q: What’s your most memorable moment as an educator?
A: I have many memorable moments as an educator, but one type of moment sticks out. It’s really several moments rolled into one. It would be the pride and excitement I see on my student’s faces when they earn an award with their non-disabled peers. Whether it’s A/B Honor Roll or Classroom Reading Awards, the look of achievement on their faces is simply priceless.
Ms. Florence Joyner says Allen Jay Elementary School is “a very diverse school” that “feels like a family.” Everyone works together as a team to put the needs of their scholars first and ensure students thrive as lifelong learners. She finds her students and the community-focused atmosphere of Allen Jay Elementary is what truly makes her stay even in the face of challenges.
Thank you so much to Florence Joyner for your dedication to High Point’s students. Congratulations on being selected as your school’s 2021 Extraordinary Educator!
To find out more about High Point Schools Partnership and our work, please visit our Facebook page and check out our page on Guilford Education Alliance’s website.
Article written by High Point Schools Partnership Staff