The Effingham County Board of Education recognized Mick Danielson as the county special education teacher of the year at its meeting Wednesday.
“Mick is one of our special education teachers, and this is a second career for Mick,” said Dr. Gordon Riffle, exceptional children coordinator for Effingham County schools. “Mick started out as a park ranger and worked as a park ranger for several years.”
He said it was during the time Danielson was a park ranger that he first became involved with a group with special needs. Danielson noticed that others in the park were not paying attention, but he learned that if he were to engage them in conversation and maintain eye contact that they “bloomed, and came alive.”
“Mick decided that something he wanted to do was become a teacher, and work with children that are differently challenged,” Riffle said. “That’s exactly what he does.”
Danielson said it’s a pleasure to work in Effingham County.
“I enjoy coming to work in the morning,” he said. “It was a happy day when Randy Shearouse hired me. And I do miss park rangering, but I will not be going back.”
Shearouse said anyone who visits Danielson’s class can see the “love and compassion” he has for his students.
“I was telling somebody this — it’s almost not fair that I got this honor because I’m given so much to work with,” Danielson said. “I’ve got so much room to move with my kids. I’m happy to be where I am.”