Once a Lion, Always a Lion

Once a Lion, Always a Lion: Nine LSHS Graduates Talk About Returning to Teach and Guide Students
Posted on 09/15/2023
The Douglas County School System has many former students and alumni who return as teachers or staff members in various roles each year. This year, Lithia Springs High School has an abundance of loyal lions who are passionate about creating a positive educational experience for today’s students. Currently, LSHS has nine alumni on staff who share similar stories about their desire to perpetuate the influence and impact that helped shape their lives.

Assistant Principal Payton Milinor expressed her excitement about two of her former students, LSHS STEM graduates Naomi Douglas (Class of 2018) and Bryanna Jordan-Pettit (Class of 2016), who have returned as science teachers.  “I taught both of these extraordinary young ladies. Working alongside two amazing teachers who once sat in my classroom is a dream. I am thrilled to have them back on campus, and I know that they will have a lasting impact on their students,” Milinor said. 

Student Resource Officer Chris Billingslea graduated from LSHS in 2004.  He said, "being able to work in law enforcement at the school I attended is a dream come true. I can brag because I played in the first ever game in the "new" gym 20 years ago and had a triple-double (25 points, 14 rebounds, 11 blocks). It's an honor to be able to work with the next generation of Lions!"

Candice Cooke graduated in 1988 and is now a science teacher.  "Returning to the Lion's Den as a teacher brings back wonderful memories and excitement,” she said.  It is a privilege to be part of a school that shaped my journey and to have the opportunity to contribute to the growth and development of new generations."

Nicole Oliver-Wynn graduated in 1991 and now teaches computer science.  "I chose to come back to LSHS as a teacher because I felt compelled to contribute to the educational community that had a meaningful impact on my own academic development. The experiences, insights, and mentorship I gained during my time here in high school have given me a distinct outlook that I can now share with the present generation of students," she explained.

Coach Darius Owens is a member of the Class of 2011 and a current PEC (Program for Exceptional Children) teacher.  "I enjoyed my time here as a student, and I’m excited to be an educator in a place that helped shape me into the person I am today. I'm excited to be back. Go Lions!"

Scotty "Donald" Parker, Class of 1988, Health and PE Teacher said, "It is always great to give back to what you once received -- once a Lion, always a Lion!"

Zephina Romero graduated in 2013 and is working as a long-term substitute teaching English.  “Before last year, I never thought I would come back to teach at Lithia. I had the best time while at Lithia during my four years, and I want these students to have that same experience. So, I’m excited to be back home.”

Jaime Samples, 2003, Social Studies Teacher said, "I am excited to be teaching and coaching at LSHS and have the opportunity to be a positive influence in the lives of my students. So many teachers and staff had a huge impact on the person that I am today, and I hope that I can have that kind of an impact on my students."
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