A lasting impression: Meet inspiring teacher, Kristy Wimberly


Mrs. Kristy Wimberly was chosen by Swainsboro Middle School as their 2024 Teacher of the Year. In a letter of support of Mrs. Wimberly, a colleague discussed how Ms. Wimberly has been dedicated to the ideals of portraying herself to her students and her colleagues as a lifelong learner. The colleague discussed how Mrs. Wimberly was always willing to do whatever was necessary to ensure she was well equipped for each new role. This was evident when she transitioned first from special education to regular education and, most recently, to their school’s Career Connections teacher. She further stated, “A huge part of what makes Ms. Wimberly such a successful teacher is her willingness to get to know her students better to understand their specific learning needs and learning styles. In doing this, she is always willing to put in the extra effort and hard work to ensure that her students are challenged and supported in their learning. Her students truly know she wants them to succeed and that she genuinely cares about them and their future.”

“I am Kristy Dixon Wimberly. I graduated from Swainsboro High School and continued my education at East Georgia College and Georgia Southern University. I graduated from GSU with a BS degree in Psychology. After working several years in counseling, I returned to school and got a master’s in special education. I started teaching in 2002. I later received my certification in General Education as well as my gifted endorsement. I have taught at Swainsboro Middle my entire career. I have taught 8th grade for the majority of the time. I am now enjoying teaching Career Connections to 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. I am married to Alf Wimberly and we have two daughters, AnnaKade and Allison. I love spending time with my family. I enjoy anything that requires me to be outside. During the summertime, you can find me in the pool or at the beach, which is my happy place. My

family and I love to garden and hunt”, stated Wimberly.

Mrs. Wimberly has taught at Swainsboro Middle School for her entire 22 years. She taught special education for about 12 years in the resource and co-teaching environments. Wimberly then transferred into the general education setting and the gifted setting teaching English Language Arts. These last two years, she has moved into the Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education program and teaching Career Connections. Mrs. Wimberly is also serving as the Swainsboro Middle School Future Business Leaders of America advisor this school year. She also served many years as grade level lead, as a SILT team member, and Management Team member. Mrs. Wimberly served as an advisor for Jr. BETA and is currently the FBLA advisor and currently serves on the superintendent’s Teacher Advisory Council.

“I have always enjoyed helping others. I originally obtained a degree in Psychology just so I could help others. I was working at a youth home and really enjoyed getting to know the young people who were residents. I realized young people face so many challenges that require guidance and support. Part of my job was to collaborate often with the school system”, stated Wimberly. One day she was asked if she ever considered becoming a teacher. It stuck with her and after thinking and praying about it, Wimberly went back to school and received her master’s to do just that. She realized quickly this was what she was meant to do.

“I have had the honor to work side by side some of the absolute best educators that ever taught in Emanuel County. If I had to say one person who inspired me and mentored me, it would be Mr. Mark Sweat. His love for students and what he taught was amazing. I have never seen a teacher able to hypnotize students with stories and information as he did. I wanted students to sit in my class and soak up knowledge in a fun and exciting atmosphere like he created”, added Wimberly.

“I love Swainsboro Middle School. There is not a better school in Emanuel County. The teachers there are family. Our administration is strong, supportive, and encouraging to the students and staff. We work together to give our students the opportunity to be successful in a safe and loving environment. Every day I watch teachers and staff go out of their way to support, motivate and care for students and each other. We all have the same goal, and that’s to make sure our students are prepared academically as well as social and emotionally. SMS is MY school. It’s the BEST!”, Wimberly stated.

Now that you’ve met the teacher and read her story, read her Q/A’s below to further understand Kristy Wimberly’s incredible values of teaching and how she’s changing and inspiring young lives in our community.

What have you found most rewarding in your career?

Wimberly: What has been the most rewarding in this career are the relationships that grow with young people and continue into their adulthood. Anytime I am out in the community, someone says, “Hey Mrs. Wimberly, you remember me?” I see students who are excited to tell me about their careers, family, and even their kids. It’s being told how much they miss you and to see how they have actually worked hard and have become successful adults, and I played a part in that.

Do you feel that each of your students have left a lasting impression on you?

Wimberly: The longer I teach the more evident it becomes that the students teach me as much sometimes as I teach them, just in a different way. Every year my students become more than just names on my roll. They become individuals who make me laugh, when I think I could cry. They are the ones who I know count on that smile each morning, even though they walk by and never speak. They are the ones who I see finally have those successful moments at school when they thought it would never happen, and they realize they “CAN” do it.

What advice would you like to give to new or upcoming educators?

Wimberly: The advice I would give to any upcoming educator is to stick with it. You will find your why. You will figure out what it takes with certain students. Not all students are going to love you, but as long as they know you care, they will too. Remember they are kids, they are going to make mistakes, and you will too. Grow from your experiences and always be a lifelong learner and teacher.

How does it make you feel to see the success that many of your previous students have become?

Wimberly: It give me so much pride in a student when I see their successes, and it’s not just academic success. I love to see the smiles on their faces and the pride they have when they work hard and benefit. It warms my heart to meet them years later and see productive mature adults. That is success to me.

If you could tell your past students or future students one thing that you hope will stick with them all throughout life, what would that be?

Wimberly: I tell all my students, you can be successful. Work hard, don’t quit, don’t make excuses, and surround yourself with positive people.

What’s a favorite memory or some of your favorite memories that you have from your time as an educator?

Wimberly: Some of my best memories are field trips, just spending time with students away from school having fun. I have tons of great memories with co-workers who I have laughed and cried with. One of the best is when the seniors are graduating and you see a picture of past students wearing their cap and gown, and I smile because they were mine in middle school and they will always be “mine”.