DeSoto County Schools named Lorna Golden as 2022 Teacher of the Year. Golden teaches in the Health Science department at the DeSoto County Career Technology Center’s west campus.
Golden said being named as teacher of the year is a reflection on all of the people that have helped her along the way.
“I’m super excited and so humbled and honored to be Teacher of the Year,” Golden said. “So many people have poured into me, and if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be here. I owe credit to my best friend for getting me into teaching, and I’m so happy to be able to represent CTC West and show people what we have here. I wish every student had the opportunity to take classes like this.”
The DeSoto County native has been teaching for several years, but she began her career as an ICU nurse.
“I graduated from Southaven High School and went to Mississippi State,” Golden said. “I graduated from State with a bachelor’s degree in education. I then went through the Accelerated Nursing Program at the University of Tennessee Memphis and got a BSN in nursing. When I came out, I became a nurse at LeBonheur in the ICU until about 1998. In 1998, I came out of nursing and went into teaching. They had an opening at Bartlett High School, so I went there but I was really waiting on a position in DeSoto County to open up.”
Golden was able to secure a position at DeSoto Central High School teaching mainly biology classes.
“I finally got a position at DeSoto Central High School,” Golden said. “I taught Biology, botany and zoology. Through the years at DeSoto Central, I also taught Human Anatomy and Physiology and Advanced Placement Biology.”
Over the course of her teaching career, Golden has always tried to stay involved with her students and different organizations.
“While I was at DeSoto Central, I was the Diamond Girls sponsor and I started a club called Options which was a club to keep students interested in math and science careers,” Golden said. “I’m very involved. I love school spirit, and I love working with ninth graders and getting them to love school.”
Several different DeSoto County schools have students that attend CTC, and Golden said the variety of students makes the experience more fulfilling.
“Here at CTC I’m able to show them their passion, so that they’re able to find their passion in healthcare,” Golden said. “Our students are able to have community with other students from other schools because we have five schools that come here. Horn Lake, Center Hill, Southaven and Hernando all have students that come here. It’s more like a family because we have small classroom sizes and a lot of hands-on activities.”
Career Technology Center only accepts 45 students to participate in the Health Science program each year, and Golden said all of her students are excited to have the opportunity.
“Our students apply to be here,” Golden said. “Almost 200 people apply to be in my program, and 45 get selected. It’s highly selective, and our students genuinely want to be here. My goal is for them to see everything they need to succeed in their possible careers.”
Health Science 2 is what Golden currently teaches, and she is able to take her students to Baptist DeSoto twice a week to shadow medical professionals from several different specialties.
“Health Science 2 is all about the careers,” Golden said. “We do 100 hours of shadowing at Baptist DeSoto Hospital. On Mondays and Tuesdays, we meet at the hospital and they’re able to rotate through every department. I want to promote the healthcare team to my students. Everyone works together and it has to be a team. Our students have American Heart BLS certification just like doctors do and Stop the Bleed Certification. I work really closely with the community, and I have guest speakers all the time.”
Each career program at CTC has an area for learning and an area for activities and hands-on experience.
“Every program here has a classroom for learning, an office and a lab where they can practice,” Golden said. “So, we have a little hospital room that has an EKG machine, an autoclave, bed lifts, mannequins, headboards with oxygen and suction, blood pressure machines and all kinds of other gadgets that are in real hospitals.”
Golden said it is important for students to understand the careers that they are interested in.
“Everything we do is relevant to real life and real careers,” Golden said. “Some kids don’t make the connection that biology isn’t just a subject, it’s doctors, nurses, researchers and so much more.”
By teaching at CTC, Golden is able to put both her nursing and education degrees together to provide the best learning environment for her students.
“One of the reasons that I wanted to come here was because I get to use both of my degrees,” Golden said. “I always knew that I wanted to incorporate both, but I didn’t really know how for a long time. I get to use my nursing experience and my teaching degree.”
Golden said her job is more than just a job to her. It is an opportunity to fulfill her purpose and enjoy her passion.
“My purpose here in life is to be a servant, so whether I’m serving in the hospital or serving my students, that’s my purpose,” Golden said. “I waited over 20 years for this position, and I love it. I’m able to let my light shine for my savior.”
Many teachers can agree that the success of students is one of the most rewarding aspects of teaching. Golden said she has several students that keep her updated on their careers.
“The most rewarding part is seeing the success of my students,” Golden said. “I got several texts this last week from former students letting me know that they’ve been accepted into medical school, nursing school or physician’s assistant school and some that graduated nursing school. That’s what’s important to me.”
Although Golden has been recognized as the Teacher of the Year, she still sees the need for improvement in her career.
“There’s always room for growth,” Golden said. “I think we do a great job here, but we can always do better. I think everything in the classroom needs to be relevant, real life and connected to personal growth and college. It’s also important that students are able to see their gifts and how they can use them in those fields.”