COLUMBUS, Ohio — Amy Jo McLaughlin still keeps in touch with many of her students. And that holds true even years after they’ve left her classroom.
In fact, the Clinton Elementary kindergarten teacher still keeps tabs on the Wilford brothers, one of who is in college, the other who is a college graduate.
“It meant that they had someone other than their parent that really cared about them as individuals, not just another pupil at a school,” said the brothers’ mother, Sabrina Wilford.
Even years after her sons were kindergarten students, Wilford wanted to nominate McLaughlin as a Classroom Hero.
“She is just a wonderful person, she’s a wonderful human being,” Wilford said. “She deserves to be recognized for what she does. I mean, all the impact that she’s not only had on my kids but I’m sure all of her kids that have been blessed to have her as their kindergarten teacher, the first person they come into contact with in education.”
McLaughlin credits her own teachers for her love of education.
“This is my 25th year teaching, and I can say that I love it as much now as the first time I walked into a class,” she said.
McLaughlin also has praise for the families of her students who send their children to school ready to learn and for her co-workers and leadership at the school.
“I just keep thinking, my mom would be so proud of me because I was raised in an incredible community, and I want to give the same opportunities to my kiddos that I have in my class, I want to give them the same thing that I had, and that’s just what I always strive to do,” she said.
But even after a quarter of a century in the classroom, she’s not nearly ready to walk away from a job she loves. In fact, she jokes that she’ll have to be wheeled out with a cane.
“I’m going to stay in the classroom unless I have a change of heart,” she said. “I’m going to stay in the classroom. I think I got nine or ten more years, but I’ll probably be that lady leaving at 93, 94.”
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