20 Under 40 Class of 2021: Alex Jay – Lanett City Schools

Published 6:05 am Monday, May 24, 2021

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Though she has been a part of Lanett City Schools for just two years, Alex Jay, 27, has made an impact in the lives of her students. 

Jay teaches at Lanett Junior High School as the learning specialist. She graduated from Auburn University in 2016 with her undergraduate degree in collaborative special education and earned her second degree in 2020, graduating with a master’s degree in collaborative teacher K-12 with a focus in behavior. 

Jay got into special education through her childhood best friend Omead, who has severe autism. During class, she would quickly finish her work to help him understand the lessons of the day. 

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That desire to help her students still rings true, as her favorite part about being a teacher is seeing those “aha moments” a student has when they understand what Jay and the other teachers have been teaching. 

“When they have been working so hard on something, whether it is school work or outside of school or behavior, they meet their goal,” Jay said of seeing those types of moments. “I like having my kids there and teaching them, figuring out what they need. That’s what I like about being a learning specialist because it’s all individualized. It’s what that specific student needs.”

Along with teaching her students, Jay is involved in all of Lanett’s athletics, as she is regularly taking pictures and videos of the teams.

Jay originally got into photography for fun, receiving a camera once she graduated from Spain Park in 2012, but as she became a teacher she realized that it was a way for her to build relationships with students, whether they were in her classes or not.

“I realized it was a good way to build relationships with the kids,” Jay said. “That got me into it inside the school. At Lanett, it was a really good way to make highlight videos of the kids for colleges.”

Jay, later on, gifted her first camera to a student who plans to pursue a degree in photography.

Her favorite part about her photography are all the memories of her former and current students that she can look back on whenever she wants. 

“It’s just stuff like that that makes it meaningful to go back and look at. Just the memories from the highlight films, kids and events. You basically get to relive it every time you watch it,” Jay said. 

Along with creating highlight films or taking pictures at sporting events, Jay uses her photography in her classroom, recording the day’s lesson so a student can rewatch it at home if needed.

“We video all the time. I think it helps me be more accountable too, to see what I need to improve on,” Jay said. “With virtual learning, it’s an easier way to upload those assignments. It’s a good way to look back at the memories at the end of the year.”

When the school year ends, Jay puts together a highlight film of her class for herself and her students.

Jay was rewarded for her hard work in February when she was named the 2020-21 Lanett Junior High School Teacher of the Year.

Jay lives in Auburn with her two cats Ms. Kitty and Mr. Handsome.


Editor’s Note: The 2021 20 Under 40 magazine is available in the Saturday, May 22 edition of VTN or at our office in Lanett.