Degrees and Certifications:
Bachelor of Sciences in Psychology (1978): Francis Marion University (then College) Bachelor of Arts in Generic Special Education (1993) Coker University (then College) Master of Arts in Education (2004) Cambridge College National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS): Exceptional Needs Specialist, Young Child to Early Adult (3-21) Severe and Multiply Handicapped 2000-2010 (renewed in 2009) until 2020. Additional graduate studies : 30 hours plus : Francis Marion University
Ms. Ann B. Nichols
I am a product of Florence One Schools System. I was a student from 1963-1974, having attended Maple Park Kindergarten, St Anthony Catholic School, Royall Elementary, Moore Middle School, and Wilson Sr High School. Then I studied at Francis Marion University (then "College") from 1974-1978, graduating with a Bachelor of Sciences in Psychology. I worked at Georgetown County Department of Social Services in Child Protective Services from 1978-1981, then the Aid for Families with Dependent Children Section (AFDC) until 1982. I decided that Social Work was not my true calling. I worked a variety of jobs until 1984 when I was hired as a teacher's assistant at Carver Elementary in Florence, SC. I decided to become a teacher while assisting in a kindergarten class, and I enrolled in a Master's program in Early Child Development at Francis Marion University. In 1988, I transferred to Lester Elementary and worked in a program for students with autism. I changed my interest to Special Needs and enrolled in an undergraduate-level degree program at Coker University (then a college) in Hartsville, SC. In December 1992, I completed the program and actually received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Generic Special Education in the spring of 1993. I was hired in December 1992 to Pee Dee Regional Center, a residential facility with the SC Department of Disabilities and Special Needs. I worked there until I was hired at Florence School District One to take a class at Sneed Middle School(March 1997). I developed a student helper program at Sneed that allowed students from the general population to work with students who had disabilities. The program was good for both populations as students from the general population learned about students with disabilities, and it gave the students with disabilities an opportunity to meet peer helpers. It also helped them form friendships with people that they might encounter in the community after they left school. It helped the nondisabled students develop character, and learn to think of others. The program won the JC Penney Golden Rule Award, and one student won a small scholarship to help her with her future studies. I earned the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certificate in Exceptional Needs, Severely and Multiply Handicapped in 2000, renewed it in 2009 and I am certified until November 2020. I earned a Masters of Arts degree in Education in 2004 from Cambridge College and added 30 more hours in various technology courses offered through Francis Marion University and Florence One Schools.
I was working with students who were ages 12-21. When the program became established at West Florence High School, I went there with the high school-aged students (16-21). I worked with the administration to get a service-learning program set up for students in the general population to earn credit while working with students who have severe and profound cognitive disabilities. I worked there for 14 years, during which time, I earned a Master's Degree in Education from Cambridge College, before being transferred back to Sneed Middle School for the 2015-2016 school year as the teacher for students with Intellectual Disability in the severe and profound range, ages 12-16. I stayed there through 2016-2017 and then went to Briggs Elementary to teach students with Learning Disabilities as a Resource Teacher for 2017-2018. It was an eye-opening year. I learned a great deal about regular education that I would have missed if I had stayed exclusively in self-contained programs. It was definitely a year of valuable lessons, and as a bonus, I was able to participate in the Leader in Me program, a 7-step program of positive behavior habits for students to develop the leader within them. I transferred again to Southside Middle School for the 2018-2019 school year. I am currently teaching students with Intellectual Disability in the Moderate range and students with Orthopedic Disability. It is a self-contained program and I am challenged to provide opportunities for my students to interact with the general student population again. I am familiar with many aspects of the job, and I am learning about the skills that my students already have and the ones that they need. I hope to start a student helper program at Southside.
This job continues to be challenging and rewarding. I love my students. I look forward to what the future holds professionally speaking. My motto is: Everyone learns something every day, whether it is taught by you or by me. My students will learn that they are important citizens of the United States and their responsibility as citizens is to know their rights and responsibilities, to stay healthy, and to contribute something positive to the classroom, and the community every day.