The days of the “Little Red School House” are long gone. With that the one teacher for 30 students from kindergarten to graduation is also a thing of the past. Students now are blessed with teachers who are specialized in varying subjects, a smorgasbord of teachers for each class of less than 20 students. Teachers often become ‘settled’ in one grade or at most either or of two grades. Rarely does a teacher adapt over several grades and remain successful in today’s times with the various requirements for the standards of today. One such teacher is Joy Shouse who presently teaches fourth grade at Grand Ridge Middle School. Joy has 30 years of teaching experience spread between Kindergarten and sixth grade. Her efforts have been recognized by her peers, having been awarded ‘Teacher of the Year’ at Grand Ridge School, in 2015 at Marianna Middle School, and this year at Grand Ridge as the Elementary Teacher of the Year.
Her first experience teaching in Jackson County was seven years at Grand Ridge School before moving to Golson. At Golson she had one year in Kindergarten before moving to first grade where the majority of her time was spent with the exception of a couple of years in second grade.
Joy left Golson for a little older class of students at Marianna Middle School and quickly became a favorite of parents and students due to her fairness, talent, and proven ability to get the most out of her students. Joy is soft spoken, almost nurturing but has proven her ability to make a change in her students. She remains at the top in scores from the dreaded standardized testing. Staff and students alike send praises to ‘Mrs. Shouse’. Eddie Ellis, principal at MMS, says, “Mrs. Shouse always went the extra mile in everything she did. She was always willing to help a student whether they are in her class or not. She never used the word no when asked for help. She always wore a smile and was open to new ideas. She is missed still today here as one of those teachers you could always count on, always knew she was there for whatever you might need. I considered it an honor to have her on my staff.”
While at MMS her ‘team’ was headed up by Kim Mock, reiterated much of that sentiment, “Mrs. Shouse is definitely a team leader, she goes above and beyond in helping the students and her fellow teachers. If she has a bad day, no one would ever know it, she always carries a smile. Her love of teaching is obvious from the time she steps on campus.”
Students praise her year after year. Sydney Powell’s memories are a little fresher since she was in her class at MMS just a few years ago. “Mrs. Shouse was always at school, we only had a sub like one or two days in her class. She was always in a good mood and wanted you to learn.”
Mrs. Shouse taught every subject in sixth grade at Marianna Middle. She is assigned to a fourth-grade class at Grand Ridge School. Her peers know they have a gem in her, selecting her at their Teacher of the Year for this year.
Aside from teaching, Joy and her husband John enjoy their three children and one grandchild. Caitlin Shouse McDaniel is married to Joey McDaniel and will be returning to Grand Ridge to teach in January. They have one son, Parker who was born July 27 of this year. Joy and John had two sons Andrew and Matt. Andrew is at Fort Sill, Oklahoma completing his Advanced Individualized Training and Matt will be transferring to Troy from Chipola in January.