With every new year, comes a new student, teacher, or staff member. With warm and welcoming opened arms, they are taken in by everyone on campus and immediately become part of the school family.

Although new to the high school, Kristin Duckett is still a familiar face – a face seen working prior to this year as a substitute at Clements. Duckett is now teaching special education full-time.

“Well substitute teaching was just a stepping stone,” Duckett said. “Until I got my license, I told myself I’m going to get in there [full time teaching], and I’m going to face my fear and see what this is like.”

With her new career path changing, Duckett was forced to face her fears of becoming a teacher.

“One of my biggest fears was can I deal with kids? Can I get up in front of a class and manage a classroom?” Duckett said. ”All of those things were scary to me. Substitute teaching was a way for me to break the ice.”

Along with so many other inspirational teachers, there is always another equally inspiring person behind them, and for Duckett, that person was librarian Allison Heath.

“I was just fifteen and she was, to me, just this young woman who was funny and her class was just eye-opening,” Duckett said. “My mother said that I needed to choose what I wanted to do and she [Heath] was my inspiration.”

Substitute teaching was a part-time job that gave Duckett time to watch her now eight year old daughter grow up. With her daughter in school, Duckett took advantage of an opportunity to work with special education students.

“The reason I enjoy teaching so much is because of you all [the students],” Duckett said, “You’re young adults and I just love getting to know you all, and I love listening to you all.”

Although she works with only one student, Duckett strives to be many of the students’ confidant. She too attended this school and can relate to many of the problems her students are going through.

“It’s like a reality show, but I don’t listen just for entertainment purposes,” Duckett said. “I do want to help, I really do because I was you all.”

By teaching, Duckett hopes to help make all her students and the ones around her feel comfortable in their own skin and continue to do their best to get through rough times.

“I’m genuine, I mean it from the bottom of my heart because I’m just starting to feel comfortable in my own skin,” Duckett said. “I just want you all to get through it and while you’re doing it, just be yourself, do you and love yourself.”

Shelby Hayes