Teacher Spotlight: Ms. Sawyer

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Ms. Sawyer giving instruction to her 3rd period AP English Language & Composition class. Ms. Sawyer always finds a way to make her lectures interesting and engaging. (Photo Courtesy of Milo Wegmann)

Denise Sawyer, known as Ms. Sawyer to her students, is an English teacher at Leesville Road High School. She pushes her students to try their hardest every day and cares about how every student is doing in her class. 

Background

Even before teaching at Leesville, Ms. Sawyer has had a passion and background in English. 

English has always been Ms. Sawyer’s favorite subject. “Rhetoric is a big thing for me, and I think that’s what led me to English,” said Sawyer. 

After graduating from West Caldwell High School, in Caldwell County NC, Ms. Sawyer attended Appalachian State University for her undergraduate degree. She majored in English with secondary education.

For graduate school, Ms. Sawyer attended North Carolina State University. While attending, she focused on English, specifically rhetoric and composition. 

During her college career, Ms. Sawyer held various jobs. “I didn’t have a long term job but I definitely had a few jobs during high school and college,” said Sawer. 

These jobs included being a writing center consultant at Appalachian State University and graduate assistant director of writing and speaking tutorial services at North Carolina State University. 

Ms. Sawyer’s last stop before Leesville was as an English teacher at Lee Early College High School in Sanford, North Carolina. She taught English II honors and was also the Co-Yearbook Advisor. 

After five years of teaching at Lee Early College High, Ms. Sawyer decided to switch things up and teach at Leesville Road High School, where she has been ever since. 

Career at Leesville

Ms. Sawyer began teaching at Leesville in 2019, where she was assigned to work in room 242. 

During her tenure at Leesville, Ms. Sawyer has taught all forms of English classes. “I’ve taught writing classes, AP classes, English 2, English 1, English 4…I’ve kinda taught a little bit of everything”, said Sawyer. 

One thing that is unique about Ms. Sawyer is her genuine care for her students. If you ever take a class with Ms. Sawyer, you can tell that she wants every student to succeed and achieve their highest potential. Ms. Sawyer will also take “brain breaks” during various points of a class. These breaks are given when she can tell that students need just a couple of minutes to unwind and relax their minds. 

“My favorite thing about Ms. Sawyer is the way she makes the classroom a positive environment for her students”, said Amiyah Powell, a junior in AP English Language & Composition. 

At the beginning of one of Ms. Sawyer’s classes, it may seem like she gives a lot of work. However, this work ends up being very beneficial to the students and helps them grow into better writers. 

“My favorite thing about teaching is helping students grow,” said Ms. Sawyer. Ms. Sawyer is certainly able to accomplish this, with students gaining a plethora of knowledge and writing skills between the start and end of one of Ms. Sawyer’s courses. 

Ms. Sawyer hopes to see everyone display growth in one way or another through the course of the semester. “My goal is that by the end of the year you feel more confident or you feel like you have a new skill you are even better at than when you started,” said Ms. Sawyer. 

As for the future, Ms. Sawyer is expecting a baby in just a couple of weeks. Wondering if it’s a boy or a girl? Well that is a secret held by Ms. Sawyer for everyone to find out later. The future certainly looks bright for Ms. Sawyer and her students.

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