Cindy Lanier’s own children brought her back to Troup County Schools

Published 1:30 am Saturday, January 8, 2022

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part of a series on teachers of the year in Troup County.

Cindy Lanier, a LaGrange native, began teaching in the Troup County School System after a brief time away to get her degree from Auburn University. She started teaching at West Point Elementary when she returned to Troup County and now teaches at Hollis Hand Elementary. Lanier took a brief hiatus from teaching to take care of her children, but they ultimately brought her back.

Now, she’s been named the school’s teacher of the year.

Lanier said she chose to move to Hollis Hand when her daughter started attending school there.

“Once she started school at Hollis Hand, I started with her, my youngest child. I’ve been here ever since. She started in 2010, so I’ve been here since 2010,” Lanier said.

Lanier said she has a passion for her kindergarten students. One of her favorite moments as a teacher is when she sees her students learning to read.

“I love the little ones. I feel I’m a very patient person. Them being active and talkative and silly doesn’t bother me. This age is just eager to learn. They want more and more, and they can’t get enough,” Lanier said. “To me, one of the most exciting things as a teacher to witness is a child learning to read for the first time and that excitement. They come and read you that first book, and it’s like hearing a baby giggle. I love it.”

Lanier said she was impressed by how her students handled the COVID pandemic and the changes in the classroom.

“I have never been so pleased. They were troopers. They wore their masks. Last year, we started our year off in kindergarten with individual desks,” Lanier said. “In the past, we’ve always had tables and community crayons and glue and pencils. They shared everything. Last year, we started our year [and] I felt like we were starting [in] a first-grade classroom.”

Lanier said she worries about her students amidst the pandemic even when they are not in her classroom.

“Teaching is a job that even when you’re away you’re constantly worried about your class. If you’re not there, you are worried about them over Christmas break, about their well-being,” Lanier said.

Lanier said she loves this age because of the temperament of her students. She said they make her feel like she is a celebrity.

“This age is they’re so loving and caring and you walk out and back in, and they really treat you like you’re a celebrity. They’re just so excited,” Lanier said. “If you go out in public and see a child not only from your classroom or one that you’ve taught before, but one that you may not even know, it’s ‘I know you!’ That’s the fun thing about elementary age.”

Lanier said it is not just her current students making her feel loved in the community. She said she feels loved any time a past student catches up with her.

“I will see someone at the grocery store who I taught 15 years ago when they were five. They look a lot different when they grow up, and they’re 18 or 20 years old,” Lanier said. “For them to tell me their favorite stories of when they were in my class, what they remember [about] me or how they remember me when I had them, those are always nice to hear.”