BY LOGAN MCCOURTNEY –
It could be argued that teachers are one of the biggest shapers of society. For hours at a time, teachers are tasked with the responsibility of molding, shaping, inspiring, and teaching young minds that will one day influence the world. To much of the world, teachers may just be another professional, but to many of their students, they are in fact a hero. Amanda Posey is just that, a teacher, a mother, an advocate, and most recently, the founder of B.A.S.E.
Amanda Posey, a fifth grade literacy teacher at Holly Harshman Elementary School, grew up and went to school in Polk County. She attended Mena Public Schools and graduated in 1994. After high school, she attended to college to pursue her teaching degree. While attending RMCC, Amanda married her husband, Jason, owner of J&A Truss and Lumber. After her time at RMCC, she commuted to Henderson State University in Arkadelphia where she earned her teaching degree. “At the time, I went to school thinking I would teach history. I loved history and had the opportunity to take many of the wonderful history teachers Mena had. I always felt that I had such good teachers and I felt that calling and leading to want to teach,” recalls Amanda with a smile.
Currently, Amanda is a literacy teacher at Holly Harshman, but she had the privilege of teaching at both Hatfield and Acorn early in her teaching career. “I have been really blessed to have the opportunity to come teach back home and to have been at each school that I have been in.” As a literacy teacher, Amanda works with students on their reading, writing, grammar, and spelling, all of which makes them better readers and maybe more importantly, communicators. “We have the opportunity to teach them to love reading, it only takes a spark and then they are hooked,” says Amanda. Like many teachers, Amanda is trying to find different ways to engage students with reading material that they will be interested in. She spends countless hours strategizing ways to make reading fun for her students, in hopes that they will read not only for school, but because a life long love has been developed. “Reading opens a whole world for our students. Not only with their imagination, but reading will affect their everyday life for as long as they live. I’ve been doing this for twenty years and I have been blessed to see so many kids turn into great adults,” Amanda says with a big smile.
Along with her work at Holly Harshman, Amanda is an advocate for special needs children in the community. With the help of other families that have special needs children, Amanda helped form B.A.S.E.- Building, Accepting, Supporting, and Educating. The group meets to support parents and their special needs children as they journey through the process of change, care, and creating stability. “As a parent of a child with special needs, I have asked, ‘How can I be an advocate for my child? How can I bring about change that will positively affect her and others?’ Over the last couple of years the group has steadily grown and there has begun to be a support system that has developed for parents. “We have been really fortunate to have a good steady process going. Families are coming and receiving support. It has been really encouraging,” Amanda recalls. One of the things that Amanda and the parents are most excited about is that they have been able to be a voice for children with special needs. The group wrote letters to congressman to urge them to vote for HB 1033 [a House Bill], that called for the diversion of $8.5 million from the tobacco settlement fund to fund the needs of a waiting list with 3,000 Arkansans that are waiting for services. The House Bill was just recently passed and the settlement money was realocated towards meeting the needs of special needs citizens in Arkansas. “That was a part of the process of being an advocate and speaking up for our kids. We are thrilled that they made the decision to move forward in such a positive light,” Amanda says with a big smile.
Amanda serves as a good example, that everyone, every child has so much value and potential that is ready to be discovered. “As a teacher I have had the blessing of working with amazing people, but probably even more I’ve worked with amazing kids. When one of these kids get confidence in their reading or another skill, it’s contagious.”