Congratulations to Mrs. Hanna Scites, a third-grade teacher at Williams Elementary, who has been selected as an HCS Changemaker!
Mrs. Scites has known she wanted to be a teacher since she was a little girl playing school with her sister. She says she grew up in a family of teachers, which included her mother, paternal grandparents, and aunts. The passion she saw them employ in their careers as well as the fulfillment Mrs. Scites could see them enjoy all inspired her to follow in their footsteps, so as soon as she graduated high school she went straight into the Teacher Education Program at the University of North Alabama (UNA).
“Mrs. Scites is the sweetest, most calm individual that you’ll ever know,” says Williams Elementary Assistant Principal Quavis Brown, “not only does that carry over into how she communicates and interacts with the children, she’s also very knowledgeable.” Walking into her classroom is to enter a space where curiosity and discovery are always encouraged, and one where students are engaged with one another almost as much as they are with the teacher. Students often work on assignments alongside a peer buddy, and Mrs. Scites says that she emphasizes respect between everyone in the room.
When she isn’t busy teaching or working on her master’s degree in counseling, which she admits does take up a lot of her free time, Mrs. Scites enjoys sewing, quilting, running in foot races, backpacking, camping, and cooking. She and her husband love going to the Hot Springs trails in North Carolina and last year they even went to Glacier National Park in Montana.
While Mrs. Scites does work very hard to ensure that her students are all academically successful and prepared to continue that success into future grade levels, she says that the most important thing for her is that the students know she really cares about and loves them. She ensures they leave her classroom knowing that by focusing on really getting to know them, their interests, their home lives, and even the areas they can grow in. That’s something she models herself, as well, by acknowledging that we all have areas in which we can get stronger.
“What we model for our kids is just as important as what we teach them,” she says.
The result is a class of students that look to Mrs. Scites as more than just a source of education and information, but ultimately as a confidante and role model that has their best interests at heart. In that way, Mrs. Scites is changing her students’ lives every day.