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Former local, Roberts, named Teacher of the Year

When Shanna Roberts graduated from Lanett High School in 1987, she never expected to be back in a high school classroom, but for the last 15 years, Roberts has been a teacher in the Lee County School system in North Carolina.

Recently she as named Southern Lee High School Teacher of the Year for 2020.

“I was completely surprised,” Roberts said. “I was happy. It was an honor to be recognized by my peers.”

Roberts has taught at Southern Lee for the past 11 years, teaching multimedia and webpage design, E-Commerce Honors, Digital Media and Microsoft Imagine Academy’s Word and Powerpoint. She also runs the school’s website, is the faculty advisor for the National Technical Honor Society and has coached the school’s cheerleading team.

Along with her teaching career, her son has graduated from Southern Lee, so she has experienced a parents’ role through the school, which she thinks helps her better relate to parents and students.

“One of the things that has helped me is being a parent because you look at things a lot different when you get it from your child’s point of view,” Roberts said. “If you have [a child], especially in the high school age group, it can help you identify with them.”

When Roberts graduated from Lanett, she went to Auburn University to pursue a business degree. After four years, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business management and continued her education at Troy University, where she graduated with a master’s degree in business administration.

After Troy, Roberts began working in human resources with Russell Corporation in Alexander City. After working a few years in Alabama, she was transferred to North Carolina in 1997. While she was there, she decided that she wanted to change careers and do something that she could help develop a younger generation.

“I really wanted to have more contact with people and develop them, so it seemed like a natural fit,” Roberts said. “It allowed me to invest in people, but at an earlier age.”

She got her teaching certification through North Carolina State University in 2005. She’s been teaching ever since.

Two of her teachers, Mr. Nolan and Mrs. Jacobs, inspired her through her high school years to consider teaching as a career.

“They helped me see that there is a whole world out there, and even if you couldn’t see it right then, that it was still right there for you,” Roberts said.

Southern Lee High School has more than 1,100 students this past school year, meaning in her 11 years at the school, Johnson has seen a lot of students go through her classes. Her favorite part about being a teacher is seeing those students come back and visit years down the road.