Now-retired Daleville High School English teacher Julane Pettis was named the school’s 2018-19 Teacher of the Year, a great accomplishment after 33 years of teaching her students English and how to love to learn.
“I knew before I graduated that I wanted to teach English, but I thought I wanted to teach in college then,” she said. “After my student teaching experience with middle school students in Troy, I chose to focus upon that age.”
She began her teaching career in Florida at Apalachicola High School in Franklin County but later moved to Alabama because of her husband’s Daleville business opening.
Moving to Alabama, the closest English teaching position was at Pike County High School, and for five years, this dedicated teacher commuted back and forth to Brundidge.
“Teaching in that small community with dedicated professionals allowed me to learn and grow as a teacher; however, the long commute was more difficult after my first son was born,” Pettis said. “I decided that I needed to work closer to him after a particularly bad weather day when several tornadoes were spotted between Daleville and Brundidge.”
She then moved to a middle school teaching position in Ozark before finding her home in Daleville in 1993.
“By that time I had two young boys, already knew several people in the area and discovered that I was privileged to work with the most wonderful staff of professionals who were Warhawks to the core,” she said. “I knew that I never wanted to leave these friends and these students.”
Though the staff and students have changed during her time at DHS, Pettis said every person she has had the opportunity to teach and work with has been a blessing.
Many co-workers have retired or moved on through the last 26 years, administrators have changed from time to time and new friends have joined the staff; however, DHS has remained a family of dedicated individuals who love their students and truly want the best for each of them,” she said, stating her children have also been blessed by the schools in the system. “I know that I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to work here with so many wonderful people.”
Pettis said her teaching philosophy “is rather simple” and reflects her hopes for her students.
“Teach what I love, love the ones I teach and try to impart my own love for learning along the way,” she said. “Never be afraid of making mistakes because we learn from those mistakes.
“My students probably feel that I am rather tough on them, but I hope they know how much I care that they are successful in both school and in life. I hope that they never tire of learning new things, and I hope they are fearless in their journey through school and life.”
She calls being named the 2018-19 DHS Teacher of the Year “an honor” because of her coworkers.
“Having my peers choose me as teacher of the year is truly an honor because this faculty has so many dedicated people who can easily claim that title,” she said. “I work with great people who certainly go the extra mile. I believe that teaching is a calling, not just a job, and I know that I teach alongside of others who have answered the call to help to educate our youth in Daleville.”
Pettis retired at the end of the 2018-19 school year to return to Florida, but said she will always be a Warhawk.
“Choosing to retire this year has not been an easy decision because I will certainly miss my ‘children’ here, but family needs have me returning to my home town in Florida,” she said. “However, a part of me will always be a Daleville Warhawk. I am definitely blessed to have been a part of this wonderful family of professionals at our school.”