Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Photo Courtesy of St. Joseph Parish School
Alison Loyd is Teacher of the Year for St. Joseph School, Athens. The resource teacher is photographed with some of her students.


Alison Loyd inspires students to ‘endure and overcome’  

By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published February 14, 2024

ATHENS—Alison Loyd’s deep commitment to education, understanding of learning differences and faith motivated her to pursue a career in teaching at a Catholic school. 

Loyd, who is legally blind with a left side physical disability due to prenatal stroke, is driven by her experience to encourage others struggling with challenges.   

“My life’s mission is to inspire anyone struggling with limits to endure and overcome,” she said.   

Loyd grew up in Lawrenceville and her family attended St. John Neumann Church, Lilburn, where her faith deepened through Life Teen. She attended a Catholic kindergarten, but her learning needs were more than the school could provide. She then attended public schools. She graduated from the University of Georgia and later earned a graduate degree from the University of San Diego.  

Her classroom inspiration comes from marching band directors who took a chance on her. Loyd played trumpet for directors from middle school through college who never saw her limitations.  

“They saw my value, they saw my gifts, and they developed relationships with me that made it so a blind girl can march on a band field,” she said. 

At the 180-student St. Joseph School in Athens, Loyd provides instruction and support to both students and teachers. During the five years she has been part of the faculty, she’s taught students across kindergarten through eighth grade. Over a day, she can lead a class writing project, foster reading comprehension discussions with a small group and play a game of Jeopardy to help a fifth-grade class with fraction questions.  

Principal Theresa Bangert said Loyd has a positive impact on all members of the school community and is a champion of the Catholic faith.  

“Ms. Loyd also is a model of our school’s mission statement: she is Happy, Holy, and Helpful!,” Bangert wrote in an email. She helps wherever there is a need, from admissions screenings to a student having a tough day. “She only regrets that she can’t do it all at the SAME TIME.”  

Loyd thrives on the diversity of instruction she provides, from individual sessions with students to small groups, as she moves from classroom to classroom. 

Drawing on her 12 years of experience as an educator, Loyd advises aspiring teachers to develop mentor relationships with educators they admire, to focus on their own teaching strengths and to dedicate several minutes daily to prayer and reflection, considering it equally important. 

School leaders organized a surprise to honor Loyd. She was caught off guard as she was asked to take on the afternoon carline duty as the principal talked about the award. Loyd remembered the moment she realized she was being honored as the Teacher of the Year.  

“I was absolutely emotional,” Loyd said. “She made the announcement, and I was surrounded by the students and surrounded by my peers. It was, honestly, a highlight of my life.”