People of Etowah – Beth Dayton


Name: Beth Dayton

Where were you born and raised?

“I was born in Gadsden. I have lived in four states.   I lived in Tampa, Fla., as a small child and in Virginia, where I attend K-5, first and second grade outside of Washington, D.C. I then moved back to Alabama where I attended Mitchell Elementary, General Forrest and Emma Sansom (c/o 1989).  I moved to Memphis, Tenn., after I graduated from Auburn University and lived there for three years. I moved back to Gadsden and have lived here since.”

What is your occupation?

“Currently, I am a special education teacher with Attalla City Schools.  I also can teach history, and I am teaching two history classes in addition to my special education duties.”

What made you decide to work in your field?

“After I graduated from Auburn with a degree in Social Work, I worked in a variety of jobs as a social worker.  I decided to return to school and get a Master’s degree in education and have been teaching for the last 15 years.”

Tell us about your family and pets.

“I have one daughter, Haley, who is a junior at Jacksonville State University. And pets? Well, we are huge animal lovers and have rescued several. We currently have two cats and five dogs. I have a class pet turtle in my classroom.”

Describe an average day in your life.

“My day begins getting myself ready for school and taking care of my furbabies.  I then go to school to take care of my other “babies.”  I am a special education teacher for most of the day and then I teach two history classes at the end of the day.  I then go home and take care of my furbabies and collapse in my bed to do all over again the next day!”

What school or schools have you attended?

“I only remember one from my time in Virginia, and it was called Freedom Hill Elementary. I then attended Mitchell Elementary, General Forrest Middle School, Emma Sansom High School, Gadsden State, Auburn University and Jacksonville State University.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“Relax, because I do not have much free time!”

What would you say is your greatest accomplishment?

“My daughter and my education.”

Name the one person that has been the most influential in your life. Why?

“Besides God, I would say my grandmother (Granny). She has always been the person who would always speak truth in my life and has encouraged me to be my best.”

To what do you credit your success?

“My grandparents (Gene and Maudine Williams). They have taught me the value of hard work and to have anything in this life, you have to work for it.”

Are you involved in any service organizations?

“Not currently but I would love to be part of one!”

What is your favorite thing about this community?

“Noccalula Falls.  I love living close to this natural wonder.”

What would you like to see change in the community?

“In the community overall, I would like to see a focus on jobs and job training. Not everyone will attend college but so many are capable doing more for our community and be contributors of society, if only trained.  In the schools, I would like to see an emphasis placed on fine arts.  Sadly, it seems like they have been forgotten in many schools.”

What are three words that describe you?

“Loyal, dependable and honest.”

What is something surprising that many do not know about you?

“I was on my school’s tennis team and was our school mascot.”

What is your favorite quote?

“My grandmother has always told me ‘pretty is as pretty does.’”

What is on your bucket list?

“Visiting the Grand Canyon, the West Coast and overseas.”

What is your hidden talent?

“I can tie a knot in a cherry stem with my tongue.”

If a movie were made about your life, who would you want to play you? 

“Gah….I have no clue!”

What advice would you give yourself as a child?

“Do not give up on your dreams and never give in on what you know is wrong.”

If you would like to nominate someone for the People of Etowah column, email or call 256-547-1049.

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