NORTH FORSYTH -- The Coal Mountain community in north Forsyth lost a legend on Tuesday. Many called her Miss Ann. Or Grandma. Not only her own grandchildren called her that, but anyone who passed through her life and felt impacted by her teachings and care.
Virginia Ann Hammons Martin Sefzik, or Miss Ann, passed away suddenly on Sept. 6. She was born on Nov. 10, 1939 and became a teacher for Forsyth County Schools at the age of 17.
She earned her bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees and a specialist’s degree while teaching full time, according to her obituary at Ingram Funeral Home & Crematory.
“She was a real delight. She was much loved in [the Coal Mountain] community by the students, the teachers and the parents and the entire community. She was just a legend there,” said Paula Gault, a former Forsyth County educator and superintendent.
Gault, who worked as an assistant principal at Chestatee Elementary School when Sefzik was principal, said 49-year Forsyth County Schools veteran was so entrenched in the “close-knit” north Forsyth community that she taught students and their children later on at the same schools.
Sefzik taught history at Bethelview School, Chestatee High School and Forsyth County High School before serving as assistant principal at Forsyth County High, North Forsyth Junior High, Cumming Elementary and Otwell Junior High schools, her obituary says.
She then served as principal at Chestatee Elementary.
“Even in retirement she continued to work for the school system she loved so much by serving as an administrator in the testing department at the Forsyth County Board of Education,” the obituary says.
“Her teachers had great confidence that she would support them,” Gault said.
She never hesitated, for example, to let a student sit in her office and do work if a teacher needed him or her removed from class for a discipline problem.
“Miss Ann was known by another name to those closest to her – Grandma. This is probably the name she most treasured,” the obituary says. “She never missed any event, recital, game, celebration, ceremony or concert that involved her children, grandchildren or greatgrandchildren.
“Even in failing health, she made it her mission to continue supporting her family. Many days she sat in the hot sun at a ball field, stuffy gym or crowded auditorium just to show her love and support for her family.”
Even though those not related but simply close to her called her Grandma, she passed her love of teaching down to her familial grandchildren.
“Her twin granddaughters were 4 I think when I was at Chestatee, and they’d always be at the school,” Gault said. “She took great care and was always reading with those little girls, so it’s so great to see that her gift was passed on.”
One granddaughter, Amie Holmes, was recently named Teacher of the Year at Otwell Middle School.
“She was a dear lady, and it was sad, but it was reassuring to know that something so positive was happening in her life at the time,” Gault said. “We all just said Miss Ann couldn’t have died any happier knowing her granddaughter was Teacher of the Year.”