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White receives teacher award
Kaity White
SD Gunner Fund co-founder Hamilton Kinard, Kaity White and Helo, a service dog in training - photo by Submitted report

RICHMOND HILL — Effingham County special needs teacher Kaity White was nominated by her community for SD Gunner Fund’s Teacher Blessing Award. White teaches kindergarten and first grade special education in the Effingham County School District.

Community members were encouraged to nominate a special education teacher who demonstrates a commitment to excellence and who goes above and beyond for their students.

“Just seeing the comments of the parents who nominated me was enough to do my heart some good,” White said, “but when I found out that I had won, I was completely shocked! Once I got over the initial shock, I truly felt so blessed and honored to have been nominated and chosen.”

SD Gunner Fund, a local nonprofit that serves military families, children with disabilities and first responders, honored White with a $1,500 gift to help support her special needs classroom. White plans to use the funds to purchase materials for a sensory area in her classroom to reward students or provide a safe place for students to calm down. 

SD Gunner Fund Board Members and volunteers created theTeacher Blessing Award because they wanted to give back to a special education teacher who is making a difference in their community despite the challenges teachers have faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic the last couple of years.

“One of the main reasons I am so passionate about being a special education teacher is the opportunity to advocate for them and their needs so that they are successful in the school setting,” White said. “As a special educator, your job is to be their voice of reason. These kids deserve a teacher who will love them just the way they are and help guide them in their education.”

After only a couple of years in the classroom, White has already made such an impact and is well loved by her students and community. White was born and raised in Effingham County and is currently working to complete her master’s degree at Georgia Southern University in special education.

About SD Gunner Fund

SD Gunner Fund has:

— Reached more than 106,000 children through animal-assisted therapy

—  Provided more than 50,000 hours of training for service dogs

— · Served more than 450 military and special needs family members.

For more information, visit our website at or call 615-804-3533.