Finlayson new to VWSD, but not to teaching

Published 8:47 pm Friday, February 15, 2019

Part of an ongoing series featuring the teachers nominated for Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce’s Teacher of the Year honors.

Betina Finlayson had selfish reasons when she decided she wanted to become an educator.

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“My reason for entering education was due to the fact of having two small children and going back to school at age 31,” Finlayson said. “I wanted to be able to be involved with my sons and their education.”

Finlayson had already acquired several hours in business education and could have been a high school business educator, but decided to switch her major to elementary education “and I have not regretted it since.”

“That’s been 26 years ago and I’m still at it,” Finlayson said. “God opened a door for me and I made a promise to Him that I would never look back, and I haven’t.”

Finlayson, a nominee for the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce’s Elementary Teacher of the Year, is a fifth-grade teacher at Beechwood Elementary School.

Finlayson, who taught in Louisiana school districts for 25 years before joining the Vicksburg Warren School District in 2017, had the pleasure of teaching her youngest son twice and said her greatest enjoyment in teaching is “seeing my babies grow up and become productive adults,” also referring to the pupils she has taught and not just her own children.

“When they see me they always say ‘thank you’ for what I did for them and the fact that I pushed them to do their best in all endeavors of their lives,” said Finlayson, a graduate of Northeast Louisiana University in Monroe and the University of Louisiana in Monroe. “It doesn’t matter if we all go to college or become laborers, as long as we are successful and take pride in what we do.”

Finlayson said she was excited and surprised after learning she had been chosen Teacher of the Year at Beechwood by her peers.

“This is only my second year at Beechwood and never dreamed I would even be nominated,” Finlayson said. “We have a lot of great teachers at Beechwood. I consider anyone that enters a classroom with the heart and desire to teach children a ‘Teacher of the Year.’”

The Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce will choose one elementary and one secondary teacher of the year at the chamber luncheon Feb. 20. The winner of each award will receive $1,000 from Ameristar Casino and the runner-up for each award will receive $500 from Mutual Credit Union.

Finlayson said being chosen Teacher of the Year “would be the greatest accomplishment I could ever receive.”

“There are so many great teachers in the Vicksburg-Warren School District, that I would be speechless,” Finlayson said. “It has been a great pleasure to represent Beechwood and I am very, very proud to be a part of the Beechwood family.”