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Teacher in the Spotlight: Leatha Morgan, Fernan STEM Academy

Leatha Morgan, Fernan STEM Academy


By Taylor Shillam

“I love helping children find their voice as artists,” says Leatha Morgan, art teacher at Fernan STEM Academy. “When they are able to create something unique and meaningful to them, hearing their sense of pride in accomplishment is so rewarding.” 

Leatha teaches students in kindergarten through fifth grade. She says she has carried various teaching positions over the last 15 years but has held her current position for eight years. 

“One thing about teaching all of the grades in my school is that I see the students for six years: kindergarten through fifth grade,” she says. 

“A couple of years ago was the first graduating fifth-grade class where I had taught most of them since they were in kindergarten,” Leatha says. “Being at that graduation event was more emotional than I had expected.”

Leatha’s devotion to her classroom goes beyond the season and the school year. “Just because there's no school during the summer doesn't mean we aren't working,” she says of her fellow teachers. 

In January of 2024, her classroom at Fernan STEM was flooded in the night, resulting in a loss of many of her supplies. 

“Our boiler shut down, causing pipes to freeze and burst,” Leatha describes. “Some of the supplies lost were recyclable materials used in the sculpture center that can be easily replaced, but I also lost a good amount of cardstock and paper. Some of the shelves were water-damaged and will need to be replaced.” 

Leatha says she also lost files, lesson plans, supplemental materials, and personal books kept in her classroom. She says the school, PTA and various community groups are working to cover items not covered by insurance.

“As of today, I am not back in my room yet,” Leatha says. “We are hoping by spring break we can get things put back and get our rooms ready for students. I figured I would focus on replacing items once my room is back in order.” 

As a teacher, Leatha hopes to instill a similar sense of determination in her students as they enter life beyond her classroom. Her advice to students: "Don't give up. It might be difficult at first, but becoming good at something takes practice." 

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