CS-Candace Garland

Southside Elementary and Giles County PreK-Four Teacher of the Year Candace Garland utilizes a variety of techniques to engage her students and strives to create a classroom environment where youngsters know they are loved.   Submitted

What could be more important than exposing youngsters to the world of language and reading? Citizen Candace Garland has done just this on a daily basis for the past four years at Southside Elementary and has won recognition as the school’s Teacher of the Year for grades PreK-Four. She was also chosen as the district-wide recipient of that honor.

“Mrs. Garland builds a classroom family with her students,” SES Principal Carmen Hayes explained. “Her classroom climate is so welcoming and nurturing. Students feel safe to learn and genuinely want to please her. Students always know that they are loved in Mrs. Garland’s room.”

SES teaching partner Jennifer Gaines respects Garland’s dedication to her craft.

“Candace is an awesome coworker. She is a team player who will take advice as well as receive it. Candace is very passionate about teaching and loves her students. She gets to school early and will stay late in order to prepare for the next day. I love working with her! She is the perfect piece to our fourth grade puzzle.”

Fellow fourth grade ELA colleague Amanda Smith concurred, noting, “Mrs. Garland is a generous and helpful coworker. She is wonderful to collaborate with and goes above and beyond for her students.”

Garland received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Martin Methodist College in 2017. She admits to having grown up pretending to be a teacher, knowing that she wanted to work with children someday.

She credits several teachers throughout her educational career with exhibiting a passion for their work that served as an inspiration for her own future.

“Each of these educators saw something in me that I was unable to see in myself,” Garland said. “They challenged me and pushed me to achieve my goals, while giving me the confidence to know that I could accomplish whatever I set out to do with my life.

“I am forever grateful to each of these educators and their passion for the profession. I can only hope to have the same impact on students of my own now that I, myself, am an educator.”

Married to husband Daniel for the last six years, Garland enjoys spending time with friends and family. If you can’t find her in the classroom, she will most likely be at the river, enjoying boat rides, fishing and campfires.

Garland’s teaching philosophy incorporates a wide variety of strategies to help her students succeed.

“I believe the classroom should be a welcoming and caring community environment in which all students feel comfortable and engaged so that they are able to learn and succeed,” Garland explained.

Garland employs a unique teaching style that makes use of a variety of activities to engage her students, including songs and movement, flashlight reading, escape rooms, chants and much more.

“Mrs. Garland’s excitement, catchy songs, motions and gestures (to help students remember important information) and feeling of family help self-motivate her students to want to do their best,” Assistant Principal Daryl Brindley said. “Her love for her students and their love for her is evident.”

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