Giving young children a solid educational foundation has been the goal of Christine Heaton for the past 22 years. Heaton is a Pre-K 4 teacher at Garrett Primary where she started out as a para and a substitute teacher.

“I love the kids. I adore working with this age group,” Mrs. Heaton said.

Even though her degree from Stephen F. Austin State University is a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science and History, she loves to teach the littles.

“I taught one year in Huntington – history and geography. I wanted to be close to my son when he started school in Lufkin. I fell in love with the place. I didn’t get a position so I got on the sub list. I then got my Early Childhood Certification,” she said.

Teaching came naturally for Mrs. Heaton, and she’s always known what she wanted to do.

“My whole life I wanted to teach. I had a 7th grade science teacher come in and talk about how much he enjoyed his job. That just solidified what I already knew I wanted to do,” she said.

Mrs. Heaton is originally from Buffalo, New York where the scenery is beautiful but the winters are oppressive. She came to Lufkin to live with family her junior year in high school. She was so impressed with how nice and friendly people were in Lufkin. She graduated from Lufkin High School in 1988. She was involved in choir in high school and is still involved in the church choir.

Her son, Charles Lewis, is also a Lufkin High School alum and was the Salutatorian of the class of 2008. He is currently the in-house attorney for the Family Crisis Center.

Mrs. Heaton is teaching her 4K students virtually and in-person learning this year.

“I have seven in class and six online. I teach with Zoom. Some of the challenges are with technology reliability and connection issues,” she said.

But all in all the year is going well. Mrs. Heaton said that she has seen a push toward language development over the years to enhance reading. She said the full day program began in 1999 and definitely helps prepare students for Kindergarten.

When not teaching, Mrs. Heaton enjoys reading devotional books and day hiking. Mrs. Heaton, her husband Brandon, and their beloved mini dachshund, Wally, reside in Lufkin.

Garrett Principal Cherree Hall is thrilled to have Mrs. Heaton on her campus. Not only was Mrs. Heaton selected as the 2020 Garrett Primary Teacher of the Year by her peers, but she is always looking for ways to taker her students to the next level.

Ms. Hall said, “Mrs. Heaton is very dependable and reliable. She ensures her students are always learning through her passion for student success. Her lessons offer hands-on opportunities and keeps students engaged at all times. She often brings in real objects for students to make real world connections. We are truly blessed to have Mrs. Heaton teach our PreK learners at Garrett Primary!”

Thank you, Mrs. Heaton, for giving the youngest students the best start for a lasting education.