Degrees and Certifications:
Ms. Ann B. Nichols
I was born in Florence, SC and received my early education at St Anthony's Catholic School in Florence. I entered Florence School District One as a student in 6th grade at Royall Elementary, attended Moore Middle School (Junior High ) and graduated from Wilson High School. I attended Francis Marion University and earned a Bachelor of Sciences Degree in Psychology. I worked for the SC Department of Social Services in Georgetown County for 2 years in Child Protective Services and realized that I was too tender-hearted to stay in this profession. I tried a variety of jobs and then entered the field of education as an assistant to a second-grade teacher at Carver. The following three years, I worked as an assistant in kindergarten and was encouraged by the teacher to go back to school for my certificate. I entered the Early Childhood graduate program at Francis Marion University. I was transferred to a special education program at Lester Elementary where I worked for the next four years. I found my calling in special education. I also found an evening program at Coker College that allowed me to earn my teaching certificate and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Generic Special Education. I taught at Pee Dee Regional Center for Individuals with Disabilities and Special Needs for nearly five years within Florence School District One in the Residential Setting before coming back to Florence School District One public schools in the spring of 1997 at Sneed Middle School in the PMD Program. 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. 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 2020. 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, 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 2018-2019. I am currently teaching students with Intellectual Disability in the Moderate range. It is a self-contained program and I am challenged to provide opportunities for my students to interact with the general student population again. In some ways, it is as if I am starting a new job, and in other ways, it's just like coming home again. I am familiar with many aspects of the job, and I am learning about the skills that these students already have and the ones that they need. I hope to start a student helper program at Southside. It continues to be challenging and rewarding. I love my students and my job. I look forward to what the future holds professionally speaking.
Personally, I am a singer. I love to sing. I sing as a cantor at St Anthony's Catholic Church. I also sing in choirs. I sing in the St Anthony's Catholic Church choir, the Central United Methodist Chancel Choir, and the Masterworks Choir of Florence, SC. Singing makes my body feel good and does my soul good too. Being a chorister gives me a renewed sense of community. I'm in a focused group of singers.
I also love to cook and travel. I have been to Washington, DC to sing in the National Cathedral, to New York City to sing in Carnegie Hall and to Charleston, SC twice to sing at the Cathedral of St John the Baptist with Masterworks Choir. I have been to Italy three times and have visited Ravenna, Padua, Assisi, Orvieto, Florence, Venice, Milan, and Rome among other places. I have sung in the Vatican for Mass there.
I live with my mother. I have two sisters who live in Florence, and I have two brothers, one in Williston, SC and one in Columbia, SC. The one in Columbia is my twin. I have many friends in Florence. I have several good friends in Georgetown, and one is especially dear to me. I also have two cats, Apostrophe and Pumpkin.
My big trip for this year will be to Eastern Europe with Masterworks Choir in We will sing in several wonderful locations, including Budapest, Hungary, Prague, Czechoslovakia, Salzburg, Germany, and Vienna, Austria.