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Strong Stories: Bynikini Frazier

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Degree Class of 2010
M.Ed. in Elementary Education

Bynikini Frazier

Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools Teacher of the Year Hodge Elementary School

Bynikini Frazier, the 2015 Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools Teacher of the Year, has been inspiring students at Hodge Elementary School in Savannah for the past seven years.

“I really believe in being as energetic and exciting -- and sometimes kooky and crazy -- as possible,” she laughs. “I encourage the kids to take chances, to make mistakes and to get messy. I encourage them to be themselves and to learn in a way that they will remember.”

One of the activities this hard-working first-grade teacher incorporates into her lesson plans is an annual service-based project she requires of all her students. She believes in the importance of encouraging service-minded students to make a positive impact on the community at large.  

“These are children who, they themselves, grow up in an environment where they need, but for them to still want to help others, that’s what it’s all about,” she explains. “I’m trying to instill love, care and compassion within them. We are this one, huge family, and we’re here to help each other. Love crosses all barriers.”

Children are truly at the center of Frazier’s efforts in the classroom and beyond. A third-generation teacher, this Savannah native earned a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education at the University of Georgia before deciding to return home to enroll in the Master’s in Early Childhood Education program at Armstrong while teaching full-time at Hodge Elementary. She is confident that Armstrong played a key role in preparing her for her success in the classroom.   

“Armstrong provided me with that platform of support and enrichment that I needed to strengthen my craft as a teacher,” she explains. “I’m still in contact with the professors I worked with during that time. They still mentor me as I’m working toward being a better educator.”

Frazier says she was “beyond proud” to be recognized as the 2015 Teacher of the Year for the local school system.

“I feel like it was just yesterday that I was this skinny, little kid walking down the halls just like these students that I teach,” she smiles. “Now, I’m their teacher and the city’s top teacher. It is unbelievable. It’s such a humbling experience to be a positive voice for the thousands of teachers in our school district who work hard each and every day for the students of Chatham County.”

Ultimately, she’s proud to make a positive impact on the next generation of students and to serve as a role model for children. She understands the power a teacher has to affect the lives of children and to nurture their dreams.

“Teachers are the cornerstone of our society,” she says, “and being in this role has helped me to solidify that. Our children need us, more than ever before, to show them how to deal with conflict, to show them how to deal with life and how to open their doors to success.”