Sharon Darley

Position: Special Needs Teacher

School: Flint Hill Elementary School

School District: Newton County Schools

City, State: Oxford, Georgia

About the Nominee: Sharon Darley was nominated by the parent of a student, Ginger Boyter, who is also a teacher. Ms. Boyter states that she has always heard about the power of her job as a teacher, and about how her profession teaches all the other professions. It wasn't until her own child entered Dr. Sharon Darley's room as a 3-year-old that the power of a teacher became more real to Ms. Boyter than ever. Her daughter was diagnosed with autism at the age of two. When she started school, she knew very few ways to communicate, and she was not able to do basic things such as eat with a fork and spoon. Dr. Darley opened up a whole new world, not only for Ms. Boyter's daughter, but for her entire family. She helped Ms. Boyter's daughter go from level one of a speech program to level four by the end of the year. Ms. Boyter began to see her daughter give signs of what she wanted when she wanted it, and she saw the development of social skills and cognitive development occur daily. Dr. Darley changed her daughter's life for the better, and the entire family benefited from it. Ms. Boyter's daughter loved going to school to "work" with Dr. Darley, also known as "Mrs. Sharon," and that was a wonderful thing to see.

Dr. Darley is also commended for always going the extra mile to help parents feel involved. She sent Ms. Boyter and her family daily e-mails about the day's activities and would include pictures so they could see those activities for themselves. It was evident that she had as much energy and passion for teaching as she wanted her students to have for learning.

Ms. Boyter says that she is so glad that her daughter started her education with Dr. Darley because she brought out a side of Ms. Boyter's daughter that may never have emerged without Dr. Darley in her life. Ms. Boyter knows Dr. Darley loves her daughter as much as her daughter loves her. That is a priceless gift to a parent.

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