Educator Spotlight

Lauren Netherton


“I am a fifth-generation teacher. Both my parents were teachers, my grandmother was a teacher. My great-grandparents were both teachers. And so I was surrounded by teachers, and I knew exactly what I wanted to do: finish college in three and a half years with exactly 124 hours. I grew up all around teachers.”

Lauren’s commitment to teaching was brought to the News’ attention by her daughter, Jaley, who said she’s spent decades watching her mother pour love and grace over each and every student who walks through her doors.

“I have watched her spend late nights grading papers and creating lesson plans while fighting to pay the bills that seemed to constantly pile up,” Jaley wrote of her mother’s commitment to teaching. “I have watched her buy toothbrushes and toothpaste to keep at the school because one of her students’ water was shut off at home. I have watched her buy shoes and clothes for the little girl who was wearing a tank top and sandals in 20 degree weather. I have watched her send food with the kid who might not get a fresh meal over the weekend. I watched her comfort the child whose mom was put back in jail. I have watched her go to Walmart and buy extra Halloween costumes for the kids who couldn’t afford one. I have watched her look into the eyes of the kid who didn’t believe he was good enough and remind him that he was.”

We asked Lauren what her favorite thing about teaching was and about the challenges she faces in the classroom. Her answers as follows:

Favorite thing about teaching: “The kids. Just getting to know the kids, and build a relationship with them, and see them excited to come to school.”

Biggest challenge as an educator: “There’s a lot of paperwork now that we have to do. The pressure of testing is probably one of my biggest challenges.”

The challenges educators face today have not dampened Lauren’s enthusiasm for teaching.

“This is my 27th year teaching, and it’s changed a lot, but I still love it. The kids have changed, but I still love them. I think it’s the greatest profession out there.”

Richard R. Barron | The Ada News

Chief Photographer

Richard R. Barron is Chief Photographer for The Ada News. Richard has been at the News since October 1988. Prior to coming to Ada, Richard worked as staff photographer for The Shawnee News-Star. Richard attended Oklahoma University.

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