METTER - In her career change from lab biologist to biology teacher, Metter High School teacher of the year, Amy Holland, said she never looked back after what she considers "the best decision (she) ever made."
Holland was named 2010-2011 MHS teacher of the year for many reasons, said Principal John Jordan. "She goes above and beyond to help each of her students be successful," he said, "and truly strives to help each child who walks through her door realize his potential and value."
Her students may not become scientists or do anything related to biology, Holland said, but they learn skills in her classroom that serve them throughout their lives.
Holland received a B.S. in Biology from Georgia Southern University. After working in the water/wastewater lab for the city of Statesboro, Holland decided she wanted more.
"I love science," she said, "but lab work was not fulfilling me."
In the spring of 2000, she took the Praxis test to become provisionally certified to teach. She got a job in July of that year at Liberty County High School and became a fully certified teacher in 2003.
Holland has spent the last four years at MHS, where she teaches Biology, Human Anatomy and Physiology, and Advanced Placement Biology. Her certification in the advanced placement program allows her to teach a college-level biology course to high school students, with an opportunity for them to earn college credits.
"There are a lot of hard days that do not feel very rewarding, and then there will be a child who makes it all worthwhile," Holland said.
"I am improving the lives of the students I teach," she said.
Not only has Holland been recognized by her peers for teacher of the year but also by her students, who vote to select a teacher of the month. Holland was chosen teacher of the month at least once at each school she's taught at, she said, and twice at MHS.
"To be recognized by your peers is great," she said, "but to have students who are in class with you everyday vote for you really means a lot."
Holland cares about all of her students, pushing them to do their best said coworker Brian Hall. She has great ideas for involving them in hands-on activities in lab and does whatever it takes to help them be successful, he said.
"This job is not easy but to know that I touched the lives of others and they have recognized my sacrifices is extremely fulfilling," she said.
"I am just as proud of my students as I am of my own children," Holland said.
Originally from Leesburg, Ga., Holland now lives in Claxton with her husband, Warren, and their three children Madelyn, 7, Charley Ann, 6, and Gaines, 13 months.