Ms. Turney Dabbles in Dentistry, Taps in to Teaching


Ms. Paige Turney did not always envision being a teacher. In fact, her first career choice was dental hygienist. After completing two years at UAFS, Ms. Turney applied for the program and learned that she would have to complete twenty hours of observation of a dentist.

“My first day at the office, I was asked if I wanted to observe a surgery,” Ms. Turney said. “I eagerly said yes and went into the room. They began the surgery, and that was the day I found out my brain doesn’t react to blood that well. Next thing I knew, I was lying on the floor in a daze, while the dentist tried to decide whether to pause the surgery and help me or keep going. I was wheel chaired out and sent home. The next day, I changed my degree to Middle Level Education, and it was the best decision of my life!”

After graduating from UAFS in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science degree, Ms. Turney taught Algebra I, Quantitative Literacy, ACT Prep, and math for the ALE program at Cedarville High School for one year. Next, the Van Buren native spent two years teaching 10th grade Geometry and 11th grade Algebra II at Northside High School.

“I found out high school wasn’t for me and wanted to teach sixth grade, so I got a job at Bonneville,” Ms. Turney said. “After Fort Smith did their reconfiguration, I was moved to Kimmons!”

Ms.Turney’s absolute favorite part of being at Kimmons is the sense of community and connections between teachers, faculty, administration, and students.

“Everyone is eager to help each other out,” Ms. Turney said. “There were several overwhelming moments this school year, but I never felt like no one was in my corner. Everyone at Kimmons, no matter if you are close to them or have only talked during professional development, has your back. The support system here is one of a kind. Plus, the connections and relationships you build with everyone is like no other.”

Ironically, it was Ms. Turney’s eighth and ninth grade English teachers who inspired her to become a math teacher.

“The relationships they built with their students made any student excited to learn from them, even if English wasn’t their favorite,” Ms. Turney said. “Math was my favorite subject in school, but I never had a good math teacher. I see students who claim they hate math or say they aren’t good at it because their parents were bad at math. I aspire to be the teacher where students come to class, eager to learn, even if math isn’t their favorite.”

For Ms. Turney, a big challenge as a 6th grade math teacher has been making it through the day if she does not have time to get Starbucks in the morning.

“For someone who isn’t a morning person, I picked the career that requires you to be a morning person,” Ms. Turney said.

Ms. Turney’s main goal for this school is to survive.

“The last 2 1/2 school years for educators have gotten tougher and tougher, ” Ms. Turney said. “For some reason, this year seems even more difficult. I have had about every life crisis happen to me this year, went through some extreme changes, and being a teacher on top of everything has been tough! The goal is to get through the year, and prepare my kiddos for seventh grade.

Outside of school, Ms. Turney is an avid concert goer.

“I’ve seen over 30 artists,” Ms. Turney said. “I’m hoping this summer will be filled with me singing along with my favorite artists in a huge concert pit.”