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Heritage names Chaffin as top teacher

MADISON – Heather Chaffin is Teacher of the Year at Heritage Elementary School.

Since Heritage opened in 1999, Chaffin has taught kindergarten and grades 1, 2 and 6. Previously, she was K-12 enrichment teacher at Limestone County Vocational/Technical Center and then kindergarten and first-grade teacher at Reid Elementary School.

Chaffin has served as co-facilitator for parent and students with Heritage’s Leader in Me initiative. Currently, she participates with Madison City Schools’ Literacy Leadership Team.

In addition, she works with Heritage’s extended day and summer programs and teaches with summer ELL program at Madison Elementary School.

She earned a bachelor’s degree with dual certification in elementary and early childhood education at Athens State University. She received a master’s degree in instruction and curriculum design from University of Phoenix.

When dealing with children, Chaffin’s philosophy is “Do all things out of love.” “I want them to never feel there is a ‘cap’ on what they can achieve. However, if I need to meet them in the middle to help, that’s okay.”

“It’s most important they know they’re loved at school. That’s my No. 1 priority,” Chaffin said. “If they know they’re unconditionally loved by me, they’ll do whatever it takes to reach the goals I’ve set.”

“I treat my (students) as I do my own children, and I truly believe they feel as if they’re my family … and family to each other,” she said.

Ironically, Chaffin learned as a child from a bad experience with a teacher, who screamed at students and had no patience. “I was terrified of her and hated school that year,” she said. Determined she would become a teacher, Chaffin used that teacher as a ‘bad example.’

“I was blessed. I’m glad it happened because it was a big part of what made me the teacher I am,” Chaffin said.

She has lived in Madison since marrying Brian Chaffin in 1997. “I’m a ‘Loud and Proud’ police wife of 20 years. Brian is Lieutenant of Investigations Divisions for Madison County Sheriff’s Department,” Heather said.

The Chaffin’s daughters are Laura-Lin, 18, a 2017 graduate of James Clemens High School, and Matilin, 16, a James Clemens senior. Both girls played softball for James Clemens. Laura-Lin earned a softball scholarship to Snead State College.

“I just enjoy spending time with my family and friends, watching my girls play softball, reading, shopping and hanging out with my dog, Sulli,” she said.

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