Meet Lauren Niles! Lauren was just chosen as the Teacher of the Year at Centennial Arts Academy! She is a third grade teacher at Centennial, a graduate of Gainesville High School and the University of North Georgia.
“It was super, super, super surprising (being chosen Teacher of the Year). All of the teachers I was up against, all of them had been teaching longer than me and I felt like they had all perfected the craft, than I have. I was overwhelmed at first, because it comes from your peers. It really feels great,” Lauren said.
Lauren has been teaching for four years in the Gainesville City School system but has a long history with Gainesville. She was awarded a track scholarship to Georgia Southern while at GHS and also played basketball, volleyball and softball for the Red Elephants.
“I played all the sports and kept busy,” she said.
Lauren’s parents are Andre and Lisa Niles and she has a brother, Thomas who is a Graduate Assistant at Temple University.
We want to thank Lauren for spending time with us recently and telling us more about her life and love of Hall County.
Question: What lead you to your career in teaching?
Answer: “I tried a couple of other things before I went back to school. I did psychology, then physical therapy. Nothing that I did really made me happy until…I began teaching. Before you get into the education program, they make you spend time in a classroom and that solidified it for me.”
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Hall County, and what do you love there?
A: “I love pizza, so I go to Atlas or Mellow all the time. Before Biba’s left, it was Biba’s.”
Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met in Hall County?
A: “Through sports and my dad (Andre Niles) I have met all kinds of people, the most important people I would say growing up for me besides family would be Faith Simpson, she was a big influence to me and was my track coach in middle school and followed me to high school, I was kind of her special project.”
Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A: “I would say, for younger people to follow your heart from day one. You have a lot of people telling you what you should do, but follow your heart. There are people telling you to do this, or you’ll make more money doing that–do what you enjoy because at the end of the day that is what matters and have faith.”
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: “Traveling, I love to travel. My first two years of teaching I worked all summer and this is the first summer I am not getting a job. So, I plan to go as many places as I can go this summer.”
Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about Hall County?
A: “My favorite thing about Hall County is the small town feeling, sense of community. Any place you go, you’re likely to see someone you know!”
Q: If you had a full time staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose? Chef, Housekeeper, Driver, Coach, Physical Fitness Trainer, or Nanny?
A: “I’ll choose a chef.”
Q: What three words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
A: “Family. Love. Determination.”
The Faces of Hall County is a project to showcase the amazing people that live or work in our community. If you would like to nominate an interesting person to be featured please email firstname.lastname@example.org.