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Lanier ends teaching career at Columbia

Janet Lenior poses for a yearbook photo wearing her University of Tennessee hat. (CONTRIBUTED)
Janet Lenior poses for a yearbook photo wearing her University of Tennessee hat. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Janet Lanier can summarize her teaching philosophy with a quote from Jim Fay’s “Love and Logic for Parents and Teachers”: “I realized that every time I did something for kids that they could do for themselves, I was limiting them in the long run.”

Lanier is retiring as a fourth-grader teacher at Columbia Elementary School.

Looking back on her career, she doesn’t view her work as the most important factor. “I am most proud of the accomplishments of my students,” Lanier said.

Also in retrospect, Lanier said her favorite and most memorable teacher “was Mrs. Mitchell at Chapman Junior High. She was my physical education teacher. She stated her rules and never wavered. We knew what was expected of us and delivered.”

At Athens State College (now Athens State University), Lanier earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood and elementary education. “I was an aide at Central Elementary School for two years. My principal, Larry Sharp, told me to go back and get my degree and get paid for teaching,” Lanier said.

After following Sharp’s advice, Lanier began teaching at Liberty Middle School when it opened in 1990. “I am ending my career at Columbia elementary,” Lanier said.

In her ‘classroom logic,’ Lanier told students, “I will treat you with respect, so you will know how to treat me.”

Her husband Steve works as a teacher at Madison County High School. “My older daughter, Stephanie Johnson, is a nurse practitioner at Huntsville Hospital. My younger daughter, Susan Young, is a first-grade teacher at Mt. Carmel Elementary School,” Lanier said.

Without the constraints of a school-day schedule, Lanier hopes to spend more time with her grandchildren — Erin, Ady, Carley and Lukas. “I also plan to spend more time at the beach with my husband and family,” she said.

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