TOTY Spotlight: Heather Watkins

Heather Watkins was named Teacher of the Year at Brunswick High School. She has taught Honors/Gifted Chemistry and Astronomy, as well as A.P. Chemistry, Environmental Science, Earth Systems, Biology, Physics and Physical Science for over 24 years. Here are some awesome things you should know.


Family: I have close family, consisting of my parents, Sonny and Faye Watkins (residents of Brunswick, GA and who celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary on Sept. 23rd); my only sister, Ms. Shannan Benner (a 5th-grade teacher at Sterling Elementary School); and three beautiful nieces, Kaitlin Martin (25, a resident and church leader in Charlotte, NC), Lindsey Benner (21, 4th-year Senior and Alpha Phi member at UGA), and Sarah Benner (18, a current Senior at Brunswick High School, who serves as the Senior Class President and the Captain of the Blue Crew). I have many close friends and extended family in Georgia, and my church family is quite diverse considering the many churches I have attended before and since my collegiate days. Also, all of my students have become lifelong parts of my heart and will forever be my "kiddos!"

Who is your role model? As a child, my inspiration was Christa McAuliffe, the first teacher to train to be an astronaut and get ready to study Halley's Comet. I remember how happy she was teaching her students and giving back to her family and her community. I watched her walk out on the tarmac to take all seven astronauts on that fateful Challenger mission which exploded on January 28, 1986. I remember seeing one of her quotes in a magazine, and it has stayed with me and challenged me everyday being a teacher, the most wonderful job in this world. 

"I touch the future. I teach." – Christa McAuliffe
What book has most influenced you? The Bible has influenced me the most, because it is the only book I have read more than once and read every day at some point. I have also been influenced by many autobiographies read by their authors on Audible, such as Viola Davis's "Finding Me," Ralph Macchio's "Waxing On," and Dolly Parton's "Dream More."

What is your greatest teaching memory? I love seeing the light bulb come on for my students. I love watching them play sports, or sing in musicals, or play their instruments in a concert. I love watching them participate in the Homecoming Parade and get all dolled up for dances. Teaching students science and seeing them go into science fields...that is just amazing!!

What is your favorite quote or personal motto? "Dress better than you feel, and eventually you'll feel better" and "Beauty fades, but what is in the heart stays."
What is a fact about you that most people don't know? I went to Space Camp in Titusville, FL at age 11 and went to the Space Academy for Educators in Huntsville, AL at age 25. I met Dr. Buzz Aldrin (the 2nd man on the moon) in Los Angeles, CA at the Beverly Hills Hotel at age 28. 

Any hidden talents or hobbies? I sing in church and do Karaoke. I can usually pick a dance move or line dance very quickly, after dancing for nine years between Jill Stanford, the BHS Production Company, and the GaSou Varsity Dance Team. I taught Archery and Volleyball at a camp during college. I can draw just about anything I see, and I am very good at creating letters for posters or writing in cursive.