By Tia Lynn Lecorchick staff writer
The Morgan County Board of Eduction (BOE) granted a three-year leave of absence request from Amy BeMent, the 2013-2014 Teacher of the Year in Morgan County, to attend law school on June 9 at their monthly meeting. The unpaid leave will begin fiscal year (FY) 2015 all the way through FY 2017. Superintendent Ralph Bennett recommended the board approval because of BeMent’s excellent teaching record and unwavering devotion to her students. “She is an outstanding teacher,” said Bennet. “And there is very little obligation to board over all, so I am recommending this. I think it keeps that connection to an excellent teacher,” said Bennett. ” “We aren’t obligating ourselves a whole lot and it’s a chance for her to expand her own learning,” said Nelson Hale, chairman of the BOE.
The board unanimously agreed that in three years time, if BeMent’s teaching position is available or a position of equal status is available, it will be offered to BeMent before anyone else. If the vacancy is refused by BeMent, the board is relieved of any further obligations to reinstate her. BeMent, a social studies teacher at MCHS, plans to complete a three-year law school degree progam at the Georgia State University which will yield BeMent the title of Juris Doctor (JD), beginning this fall. After completing the program, BeMent plans to either start a career practicing law or return to teaching with even more expertise concerning law and government.
“My hope is that a law degree will allow me to enhance those experiences, whether it be helping students write more realistic legislation for Sophomore Congress or providing them with better insight into the nuances of case law when arguing appeals at Youth Assembly,” explained BeMent. “Attending law school has been a longtime aspiration of mine, and teaching Government and AP U.S. Government and Politics has only encouraged that desire,” said BeMent. BeMent currently teaches social studies at Morgan County High School and is highly involved in the student government.
BeMent not only teaches Advance Placement Government, Economics and International Baccalaureate Economics, but she serves as the co-advisor for Y-Club, an extracurricular club for youths, and takes participating students annually to the Georgia Youth Assembly and Georgia United Nations Assembly. BeMent established the sophomore congress at MCHS eight years ago, in which students discuss and debate ideas in a and pass laws together to learn how a legislature typically works. She also worked with her students to get Caleb’s Law passed, which prohibits texting and driving in the state of Georgia. “While I am excited about going to law school, leaving Morgan County is hard.
This has been my teaching ‘home’ for my entire career. When I think back over all the students I have taught and the ways in which we have impacted each other, it makes me a little sad that I won’t be returning in the fall. I feel blessed to have taught in a school system that has encouraged creativity in teaching students the standards. There are many school systems where Sophomore Congress never would have happened because because the administration would not have seen the value of taking two whole school days for such an event,” said BeMent.