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Countys top teacher
Lancaster of the year turned to teaching later in life
TOTY and Josh Lancaster
Teacher Lori Lancaster answers questions from Josh Lancaster about the experiment the class is working on at South Effingham Elementary School. Lancaster was named the system-wide teacher of the year for Effingham County schools. - photo by Photo by Sandi Van Orden

Lori Lancaster has spent more than seven years teaching fifth graders at South Effingham Elementary.

Her students are preparing a science experiment to see if water in a straw will force clay out of the ends when it is frozen. She tells her students that every year her class has done the experiment, but approximately half of them work.

Lancaster said that even if only one student’s experiment works, it’s OK because the entire class will get to see the results.

After explaining the science experiment to her students, she asks for volunteers. Every student raised a hand.

The students make their way around the classroom to receive a straw, and plug an end with clay. After filling the straw with water they plug the other end with clay and put the straw in the freezer. They will check their experiments again the next day.

“I always wanted to be a teacher,” said Lancaster, the Effingham County teacher of the year.

“I was surprised,” she said of finding out she was named teacher of the year. “I still consider myself new.”

She said teaching was not her first profession. When she went to college the first time she said she followed her friends path and went into technology. Lancaster said it was after her third child that she decided to earn her certification to teach.

She said she believes there is no substitute for experience, and there are many experienced teachers at South Effingham and in the county.