Courtni Turner is one of 73 new teachers who will be starting with the Sherman Independent School District this year. Turner is the daughter of a former career tech teacher at the high school.


Paul Turner, Courtni Turner’s father, died of a form of oral cancer in 2018. At an early age, Courtni Turner was exposed to education by her father working with the district when she was in fifth grade.


Now, Courtni Turner gets to follow in her father’s footsteps at the district.


“I’ve always known I wanted to be a teacher,” Courtni Turner said. “At the age of five, I was the kid who asked for teaching supplies for Christmas.”


The annual new teacher luncheon welcomed Sherman Independent School District’s newest class of educators Aug. 2, and in addition to the new teachers, 14 new professional staff members will be joining the district for the 2019-2020 school year.


Courtni Turner, who will be teaching third grade science and math at Neblett Elementary School, said this will be her first position since graduating from East Texas Baptist University. Courtni Turner will be one of three new members of the third grade teach starting this year.


Courtni Turner said she can remember when her father would bring her into the classroom to help with some of his duties.


“I was able to go into his classroom and help him rate the papers,” she said. “I would also help clean the classroom because he wasn’t always able to keep it up.”


Courtni Turner said her path into education was completely different from her father’s. While she went to school to be a school teacher, her father started work as a plumber and never went to school to be an educator before changing careers.


“Our journeys took different paths, but he always told me that if he could make it, so could I,” she said.


Courtni Turner was already halfway through college when her father started having health issues related to cancer. In October 2017, Paul Turner thought he had cut himself while biting his tongue, but the wound would not heal. Despite the oral injury, Courtni Turner said her father continued to teach, even if it required him to type his lessons to his students.


In early January, Courtni Turner’s mother went to check on her father and found that he was not breathing. Almost immediately following Paul Turner’s death, former students started reaching out to the family to make sure everyone was alright.


“In seeing the impact he had, and having students reach out, it reinforced that I want to do this and have a positive impact on students,” she said.


Courtni Turner said she has taken some inspiration from her father and how he built long lasting relationships with his students. Despite their differences in styles, Courtni Turner wants to be a relationship builder, much like her father.


“With him, he was very relationship centered,” she said. “It was obvious after the fact with how students reached out to us.”


Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at MHutchins@HeraldDemocrat.com.