Mrs. Worsham still going strong
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was written and compiled by Erick Jones, the Director of School and Community Relations for the Baldwin County School District.
Sandra Worsham is a highly accomplished educator and writer, with a deep connection to Baldwin High School in Milledgeville, Georgia. She is of particular significance as a Distinguished Alumni due to her impressive record of achievements and her dedication to teaching at her alma mater.
"I always wanted to be a writer," Worsham said, "and I always wrote. In fact, I started writing a novel in the fourth grade, but I think writing played a big part in my whole career because that was what I was teaching - writing."
Worsham graduated from Baldwin High School in 1965, and her pride in this achievement has only grown stronger over the years since the schools, which had been segregated in '65 into Boddie and Baldwin, had since been integrated in 1970.
"I really wanted to be immersed in the integrated schools," Worsham said, "because I had grown up not knowing any Black people." So, after earning her Bachelor's degree from Georgia Southern College, she returned to Baldwin High as a teacher, where she spent the next twenty-seven years of her career.
During this time, she won numerous awards for her pioneering work in teaching writing and literacy to students, including being named District Teacher of the Year twice, and Georgia Teacher of the Year, and was inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame in 2000 and received the Governor’s Award in Humanities in 2001. Worsham's passion for writing and literature is evident in her creation and sustained leadership of the Baldwin High School literary magazine, Rain Dance Review.
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"By 1981, I was getting a lot of really good writing from my students, even if they did need some editing," said Worsham, "they had great stories to tell. So I worked with Judy Allen, the Art Teacher, to start soliciting writing and artwork from students." The resulting magazine was then taken into the Baldwin County elementary schools for readings and art presentations. "It got to where children in the elementary schools began to look forward to being in the Rain Dance Review when they came to the high school."
Her commitment to education extended well beyond the classroom, as she authored and edited textbooks, has penned a memoir and short story collection, as well as collected stories from her students into an anthology. "For a period of time, I traveled all over the United States, giving workshops for teachers and the teaching of writing. It was from that that my book, 'Essential Ingredients: Recipes for Teaching Writing' came about," Worsham said.
Despite her significant contributions to education, Worsham's accomplishments did not stop with teaching. She earned a Masters in Education from Georgia College and an MFA in Writing and Literature from Bennington College in 2006. In 2017, her memoir, 'Going to Wings' was released by Third Lung Press, and won the Independent Press Award and was a finalist for the American Book Fest Best Book award. Her remarkable accomplishments in the field of education and literature have had a profound impact on her students and colleagues.
Sandra currently resides in Milledgeville with her wife, Letha, and continues to be an inspiration to students, educators, and writers alike. Her impressive legacy at Baldwin High School is a testament to her unwavering dedication to education and the power of the written word.