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Oconee County Elementary School Teacher of the Year Erin Carroll knew from an early age that she wanted to work with children. 

Carroll grew up in a small town in Georgia where everyone either went into farming or education. Carroll’s mother, father, brother, sister and grandparents were all teachers. 

At first, Caroll went a different path. She got a job in publications relations at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta after graduating from the University of Georgia. 

“I was working with kids [but] going to countless funerals and seeing the brutal [cancer] treatments,” she said. “It wasn’t sustainable.”  

In 2014, Carroll was hired to teach seventh grade at Woodland Middle School in East Point, which at the time was one of the most dangerous cities in the country. 

“I knew what I was getting into, and it was the best experience that I would probably say I’ve ever had,” she said. “There, I learned that teaching is so much more than just the content you’re delivering to kids. It really is about relationships and taking care of the kids’ hearts and emotional state.” 

At Woodland Middle School, Carroll realized the impact she was having on children and fell in love with the profession. 

For more on this story, see the Sept. 30 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at convenience stores and grocery stores and newspaper boxes throughout Oconee County. To subscribe, call (706) 769-5175 or visit the tab on our website. 

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