Staff Spotlight: Shannon Hemphill

Ever since she was little, Shannon Hemphill knew she wanted to be a teacher. With 18 years of teaching under her belt, she happily resides in teaching AP English Language here at Cherokee. She is also a very well-known teacher, in that she was selected 2018 Cherokee High School Teacher of the Year and has been the CHS English Department Chair for 5 years.

[Credit: Cherokee Co. Schools on Twitter.]

I always wanted to be a teacher, and when I got to college, I fell in love with their English program. Then I decided I was going to move to New York City and go into publishing. When I went there, I realized I couldn’t afford to live there, and I hated the winter, and I decided to move to Atlanta. I was working in the computer industry, but I wasn’t happy. I went to Kennesaw, then taught one year in Douglass County in a middle school. Thankfully, the next year I got a job here at Cherokee, and I have been here for the past 17 years.

Shannon Hemphill

Being the English Department Chair, she monitors all the English teachers and curriculum throughout Cherokee. She also mentioned that she used to be a part of National Honors Society, but dropped it when she became the department head. She enjoys sponsoring the Women’s Mentor Club, where female students can come and talk about anything they want to get off their chest.

“When Mr. Ingham, the person who had the job (English Dept. Chair) previously was leaving, a great mentor said I should apply, and when I did, I got it! It’s challenging at times to balance teaching along with other grade level responsibilities, but I do like it.”

Shannon Hemphill
[Image: Almost all of the Cherokee HS English Department poses for a photo on the new Cherokee grounds around the beginning of November.]

Ms. Hemphill enjoys sleeping and reading about all kinds of subjects, including poetry. Her favorite piece of poetry is “Safe” by Linda Gregerson. She doesn’t prefer lighter-toned poetry, but instead prefers “heavy-metal” pieces.

“Sleeping is my first favorite [hobby], but I also enjoy reading non-fiction. I read ‘The History of Poop,’ and it was fascinating. I always like knowing things and seeing how people live. ‘The Glass Castle’ is fascinating to me because that isn’t my experience at all, and I like reading about other people’s experiences. If I wasn’t teaching English, I’d go back and teach history. I love it.”

Shannon Hemphill

When asked about her family, she mentioned that she has two children, Ethan and Maggie.

Ethan loves science and math. He rarely causes trouble. Maggie is a tornado and just wants to have fun!

Shannon Hemphill

Lastly, Ms. Hemphill was asked what her most memorable moment in her teaching career. She concludes that her favorite bittersweet moments are at the end of the school year.

“The last day of every year for the students they have a fire drill because we can’t get rid of the seniors. They don’t want to leave, but they have to clear the building, so the teachers can get work done. It’s always so funny because seniors always say, ‘I can’t wait to get out of here,’ throughout the year, but on that last day they don’t want to leave because they know the minute they leave those doors, their lives will be forever changed. That is the demarcation between childhood and adulthood, and they know it. “

Shannon Hemphill
[Image: Multiple of her students surprise her by cooking pankakes for her in 2016.]

MacKenzie Button is a junior at CHS and is in Ms. Hemphill’s second period AP Language class. She is also in Chorale- the top chorus class offered at Cherokee.

“I love Ms.Hemphill, she’s such a fun teacher! I always look forward to having her class every day-she makes AP fun!”

MacKenzie Button

Gracie Scroggs is also a junior at CHS and is in Ms. Hemphill’s second period AP Language class. Along with Button, Scroggs is also in the Chorale chorus class.

Ms. Hemphill is one of my favorite people at Cherokee! She is a fantastic teacher and always makes learning fun. I am so grateful that we get the opportunity to have her!

Gracie Scroggs

Thank you, Ms. Hemphill, for all you do for Cherokee High, and Ethan and Maggie are lucky to have such an outstanding mom!

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