Jeff Hawes says he’s a blessed man, who has lived his dream more than once.
He’s blessed with a beautiful family, has traveled the world and is realizing his passion of teaching.
An English instructor at Northeast Alabama Community College (NACC), Hawes is right where he always wanted to be, even if a few other dreams took place first.
Hawes knew as a child he wanted to be in education. For the most part, that’s where he’s always been.
“I was inspired to be a teacher while attending Flat Rock Elementary School,” said Hawes. “I had wonderful teachers.”
A 2002 graduate of Pisgah High School, Hawes graduated from NACC in 2004, received his B.S. degree from Troy University and his Master’s degree from the University of West Alabama.
“At [NACC], I knew I wanted to teach English,” said Hawes. “Joan Reeves took me under her wing.”
While a student at NACC, Hawes was chosen as the recipient of the President’s Cup, an All-Alabama Academic team member and, in 2011, he was selected as the NACC Foundation Board’s Alumnus of the Year.
Following college, Hawes’ first job as teaching at Dutton Elementary School in 2007.
“I learned a lot at Dutton,” he said. “It’s a great community. I loved it.”
After two years, Hawes got his first dream job, teaching 11th and 12th grades at Pisgah. After only one semester at his alma mater, another dream became reality when Hawes was offered a job singing professionally with Karen Peck and New River, a Southern Gospel group from Atlanta.
Hawes spent five years with the group, from 2010-2015.
“I saw the world,” said Hawes. “It was awesome. I learned to listen to people that would later help me in education.”
In 2015, he was ready to come home and propose and later marry Miss Shainah Peek. When he was returning home in August 2015, a career coach position came open in the Jackson County School System.
“I drove seven or eight hours, changed clothes in the Wendy’s parking lot and went into the interview,” remembers Hawes. He got the job.
A couple of months later, an English position came open at Pisgah, and Hawes went home again.
He was there until 2017, when a position came open at NACC. He had his last dream job.
“I plan to never leave,” said Hawes.
Hawes teaches English Composition 1 and 2, British Literature and developmental English class, his favorite.
“That class gets students ready,” said Hawes. “I pull on skills from middle school.”
Hawes also teaches online classes.
At the college level, Hawes says it’s rewarding to have in class a 15-year-old dual enrollment student and senior citizen student.
“They learn from each other,” he said. “I love seeing them communicate, grow and come out of their shells.”
The past year, with COVID, has been challenging.
“it’s forced me to become a stronger teacher,” said Hawes. “I’m communicating more with students.”
Away from work, he and Shainah stay busy with three-year-old daughter, Belle, and another baby girl due in July.
Shainah teaches Health Science at EPCOT and is also a labor and delivery nurse at DeKalb Regional in Fort Payne.
They also serve as youth ministers at New Home Baptist Church in Pisgah.
They love to travel, taking trips to New York every Christmas. Hawes also loves yard work, helping with a huge summer garden each year with Shainah’s grandparents.
In 2018, Hawes was chosen as NACC’s Most Outstanding Faculty Member.
“It was awesome,” he remembers. “The majority of the votes came from students. Very humbling.”
He’s a humble man, who puts smiles on faces and a calming influence in hearts. He’s lived his dreams and still living a dream.