Natalie Brackett Wade is a 2001 graduate of Buford High School. She is the daughter of Jerry Brackett, a Buford graduate and Anita Higgins, a North Gwinnett graduate. Natalie has a large blended family that is full of love. She has a stepfather, Ted Higgins and a stepmother, Judy Brackett. Lauren Brackett Moyer is her only full sibling, however, Natalie has four stepsiblings, Corey Aaron (38), Ashley Aaron Sullens (35), and fellow Buford alumni, Heather Higgins Brown (36) and Jason Higgins (34). Natalie attended Sugar Hill Elementary School from kindergarten through the fifth grade. She started sixth grade at Buford Middle School after her mother and stepfather built a home in the Buford city limits.
Her time at BHS was a busy one as she was involved in numerous activities. In the 10th grade, she was a varsity girls basketball team manager. She played JV softball during her freshman year. Natalie was a member of Future Business Leaders of America during her junior year. In her junior and senior years Natalie was an officer of her class cabinet. All four years at BHS, she was involved with Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the BHS Bel Canto Chorale. She was in Honors Chorus during her 11th-grade year as well.
Natalie won the “Best Female Vocalist” award in 10th grade and her junior year was named to the “Who’s Who Among American High School Students”. She was voted onto the basketball homecoming court her sophomore and senior years where she won the crown during her senior year. Natalie also made the football homecoming court her senior year. During senior superlatives and class favorites, Natalie was voted as “Most Talented” and “Best Smile”.
During her time at Buford, Natalie says that Dr. Chris Fowler, her chorus teacher was the biggest influence on her. “Dr. Fowler pushed me from the 7th grade all the way to my Senior year to step out of my comfort zone musically,” reflects Natalie. “I come from a very musical family, but Dr. Fowler is the first person to put me out on stage to sing by myself. He had full confidence in me and made me stretch my vocal range.”
Even with her busy schedule with school and extracurricular activities, Natalie worked part-time at Anglin’s Drugstore on Main Street during high school. She credits that experience and the mentorship of Bill Anglin with teaching her patience, hard work, compassion, grace under fire, and problem-solving. “Bill Anglin showed me what it meant to be selfless and dedicated….. He worked well up into his late 70’s and always put his heart and soul into caring for others.” Natalie exclaims, “I consider him one of my heroes!”
Natalie attended Shorter College from 2001 to 2003 before transferring to the University of North Georgia (UNG). She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood and Special Education in 2006. Two years later in 2008, Natalie got her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education at UNG. In 2011, she earned an Education Specialist Degree in Teaching and Leading at Piedmont College.
After college, Natalie returned to the place that had such a big influence on her…..Buford City Schools. For fourteen years now, she has taught either second or third grade at Buford. She currently teaches the third grade at Buford Academy. Natalie says that she chose to teach because “I knew from an early age I wanted to help others. I feel like teaching is not just my job, it is my calling in life.”
During the 2016-2017 school year, Natalie was chosen to represent Buford City Schools at the Teachers of Leaders program at Gwinnett County. Only two teachers from BCS are chosen to go each year. For the past two years, Natalie has been in the top three finalists for the Buford Academy Teacher of the Year award.
Natalie has been married for 11 years to Jeremy Wade, a graduate of Habersham Central. The Wade’s are raising their two daughters, Evie a third-grader and Piercyn who is in preschool in Natalie’s hometown of Buford. Natalie and her family are members of the Buford Church of God. She is extremely involved in her church and puts her beautiful vocals to good use as one of the Praise and Worship Leaders. Natalie sings each Wednesday night and twice on Sunday morning in the choir. For the past two years, she has helped lead the children’s choir at her church as well.
The lessons that Natalie learned during her time attending Buford City Schools and from working under Bill Anglin have served her well. She has been able to use those lessons to succeed in life and to be able to give back to the community that has given so much to her. Natalie is busy shaping the next generation of Buford Wolves. Once a Wolf, always a Wolf!
— By Alicia Couch Payne
This spotlight is made possible by the City of Buford.