Throughout the month of October, we will be introducing you to the 2022-2023 Glynn County Teachers of the Year.
Stephanie Berry Dunson was named Teacher of the Year at Burroughs-Molette Elementary. She has taught all elementary grades during the course of her 22-year career in education, and is currently teaching second grade. Here are some awesome things you should know.
Courses/grades taught? Over the course of my 22 years in education, I have taught all grade levels in elementary education (kindergarten through fifth grades). I started teaching kindergarten. I then wanted to know the laws and procedures for students with disabilities; therefore, I went back to school and received my next degree in that area. In teaching students with disabilities, you work with more than one grade level per school year. I am currently teaching second grade.
Family? My parents are James E. Berry, Sr. (deceased) and Josephine E. Berry. I am the youngest of six children— James, Jr (deceased), Charles, Wanda, Beverly, and Jason.
My husband, Jermaine D. Dunson, Sr., and I have a blended family. Our children are adults now. They are: Jermaine, Jr., Keya, Kamyra, Stephen, TJ, Mike, Mia, and J’Anthony. All of our young men have served in the armed forces. The youngest, J’Anthony is currently serving in the Air Force.
Who is your role model? Why? My mother is my role model. My parents were married for almost 50 years before my dad transitioned last year. Watching my mother care for my dad and watching her now continue to care for others without her life partner gives me the strength to move forward. My mother went to Savannah State, as well as her mother, and pursued an education degree. Upon her graduation, she accepted positions as a substitute teacher. She later became a social worker here in Glynn County. I still get remarks from people telling me that my mom has helped them and their family in numerous ways. She has been a true asset to the community and to myself and my family.
What book has most influenced you? The book that has influenced me as an adult would be, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. In this book, Mrs. Flowers is a teacher that taught Maya to love literacy.
Then there is Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss. “A person is a person, no matter how small [no matter their disability, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, or gender]”.
What is your greatest teaching memory? My greatest teaching memory would be my first-year teaching. I had a student that had a traumatic brain injury and was nonverbal. After I read a story, she said, “the end.” This meant that she comprehended that we were at the end of the story, and she wanted to express herself. Her parents decided that she was showing growth and wanted her to do another year in my classroom.
What is your favorite quote or personal motto? I am inspired by the poem, “Don’t Quit” by John Greenleaf Whittier. “It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.”
My personal motto stems from “The Starfish Story”. There are different versions, but they all have the same message…
“As an old man walked the beach at dawn, he noticed a girl ahead of him picking up starfish and throwing them into the sea. Finally catching up with the girl, he asked her why she was doing this. She answered that the starfish would die if left until the morning sun. “But the beach goes on for miles and there are millions of starfish,” said the old man. “How can you make any difference?” The girl looked at the starfish in her hand, threw it safely into the waves and said, “it matters to that one!”
I want to make a difference, for at least one child.
What is a fact about you that most people don’t know? A fact about me that most people don’t know would be that I was the personal chef for a former CEO of a major company one summer.
Any hidden talents or hobbies? I like to try new recipes, bake on the side, sing, and travel. These are my hidden hobbies and talents.