Pike County’s District Teacher of the Year was surprised in his classroom at the Ninth Grade Academy and he has earned the honor once before in 2008. Clayton Moon has been a teacher in Pike since 1999 and he spent many years as a football, wrestling, track, basketball and weight-lifting coach.
“I’ve worked with Clayton Moon for years. He truly sees his kids as individuals and he’s able to get the best out of his students and genuinely cares about all of his students. He’s creative and funny and has a great attitude toward work, life and his students. He is just an outstanding, creative teacher and his students love him,” said NGA principal Lindsay Busby. “He’s great with kids and he’s willing to do things in a non-traditional way to get his students more engaged in learning.”
Moon currently teaches psychology, sociology and World History and according to superintendent Dr. Michael Duncan, his strength his innovation in getting students involved and actively learning in the classroom. Dr. Duncan said he is always willing to try something new and his students benefit greatly from that.
“I’m just so proud that I get to represent Pike County and this great school system,” said Moon as he was celebrated in his classroom.
“I want to encourage, change and inspire students the way my teachers did for me. I want to be the person who has faith in student/athlete success, regardless of what others might think. I want to be the teacher who is so creative in the profession, that a class period whisps by in the blink of an eye. I want to inspire by good humor and hard work. I am still working toward these goals and every day is a delightful learning experience. Teaching keeps me young and the students at Pike County are fun to be around. ”
He credits his mom, Susan Moon, as an inspiration and encouraging force for his career in education.
“She taught in Lamar and Upson counties and her former students always speak highly of her. She supported all my aspirations, pushed me through college, attended every football game I played and coached, and encouraged me to write,” he said.
He noted that a few other teachers who encouraged him along the way include Upson High School head football coach David Stephenson, Upson High School history teacher and football coach Gary Gill, recreational league basketball coach Jeff Middlebrooks and fourth grade teacher at Atwater Elementary Mrs. Hayes.
Moon was instrumental in working with the entire NGA faculty and most of the students as they published and promoted the children’s book Sanna-Tizer Disinfects the Substitute.
“This was an amazing feat for students who were faced with so much during the pandemic. When inspirational teaching methods are encouraged throughout school system, creative ideas are born, and meaningful assignments become worthwhile products,” he said.
Outside of the classroom, he stays active with his family and has written and published several books, including a novella in 2016, a short story in 2017, two books of poetry in 2019 and a children’s book. He will launch a children’s book titled Where Do Peanut Butter Jelly Sandwiches Come From? in the spring of 2022. The book will be dedicated to his mother Susan S. Moon.
“I am blessed to have a beautiful family,” he said. “My wife, Melinda, and I are so proud of Seth, Greylen and Sara. Seth will graduate Gordon State College in 2022 and start his career as an educator. Greylen will graduate Pike County High School and begin college in the fall of 2022 and Sara will be a junior at Pike County High School.”