By: Richard Gill
Sandra Deal, the First Lady of Georgia and the wife of Governor Nathan Deal, visited Mountain Education Charter High School on Monday, October 17, by attending classes at the Forsyth site. While there Mrs. Deal spoke with students and teachers in the respective classrooms to learn more about the unique process and culture that is evident in each MECHS learning community.
The First Lady was invited to the Mountain Education Charter High School system by Assistant Superintendent Tracy Sanford at a recent statewide educational event. Sanford, who knew of Mrs. Deal’s goal of visiting each of the more than 200 public school districts in Georgia, extended the invitation and coordinated the visit.
Once on campus Forsyth MECHS Site Administrator Kim Barnes took over and hosted the event by escorting Mrs. Deal to the various classrooms while stimulating discussion between students and the First Lady. “I like the structure that Mountain Ed provides,” explained a student in a science classroom. “For me,” said a male student in a math class, “this school gives me more attention and I need that. I moved from Ohio and have bounced around at different schools without finding success. Here, I feel like the teachers care about me and look out for me.”
The First Lady herself was a former teacher and explained her background in one classroom. “Shortly after Nathan and I were married I took a job as a third grade teacher and I realized that I needed to be with older students. I then transferred to sixth grade, and most of my career in teaching was in middle school. I really liked the middle school students.”
Mrs. Deal continued to disclose to the students that she gave up teaching as she began a family, but often volunteered at local schools to be near her children and “to learn more about the friends that they associated with. This made gave me more understanding into my own children and their decisions.”
The visit culminated with a photo opportunity with several staff members and a gift presented to the First Lady by Sanford thanking her for her time at Mountain Education Charter High School.