Education: Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education & Natural Science, minor in Special Education from Vanderbilt University; Masters of Science in Reading and Language Arts from Florida State University
Length of time teaching: 10 years
How you feel you can help students to “Start Here, Go Anywhere”?
As an academic coach, I feel that my position is uniquely tied to the idea that our students can start at the Lower School and truly go anywhere, not only as they move on to the Upper School, but in life as well. The students I work with may be buckling down and persevering through a challenging subject or concept, working hard and overcoming something that may not always come easily. As my students work through these challenges, they also learn that they can work through challenges and with hard work, achieve great things.
What motivated you to become a teacher?
Looking back, I remember always loving school. However, second grade was particularly challenging for me. Whether it was the combination of the students and teacher personalities or just a transitional year, when that year concluded, I had a lot of work to do to get caught back up with my peers. I remember working very hard over the summer and throughout the next year as well to get back on track and I will never forget the teachers who instilled in me that I could always do better and I was more than a single number on a test. As a fourth grader, I saw how much influence an exceptional teacher could have on a student and I decided then that teaching is all I wanted to do.
What experiences or people have the most influence on you?
I think the single person who has had the most influence on me was my father. He always told me that I could find a mission in any school; students who needed a motivated teacher and extra love could always be found. He always said, “Don’t become ‘just’ a teacher, become the teacher that changes a student’s life.” Each time I walk into a school, his words are ringing in the back of my head to do more, work harder and make a difference, one student at a time.
What do you love about teaching? And/or teaching at HT?
The students! I was a college rower and loved the feeling of pushing myself so hard down the final stretch to edge out the other teams and win. That feeling is nothing compared to the “aha” moment when a student connects the letters on the page to the sounds they hear or the first time they feel success after struggling to understand a difficult concept. The students at Holy Trinity are simply the best and I always love running into former students and seeing how much they have accomplished. My former 6th graders are now seniors and I have seen some college acceptance letters coming in. I’m just so proud of all of them; I truly love what I do!
What are your hopes for the Academic Coaching program at HT?
There is so much potential for the growth of the academic coach position. I hope that it evolves to the point where I can seamlessly come in and out of classrooms; supporting and extending the excellent work that our teachers are already doing. Sometimes students just need a little boost to get back on track or they may need just a little extra guidance as they learn new organizational skills as they progress from one grade to the next. My goal as an academic coach is to relieve stress across the board; from students, teachers and parents by helping mitigate small issues before they become ingrained habits.
What is the most important life lesson you want a child to learn in your classroom?
I feel that everything we do in the classroom has the potential to shape our students into the happy and successful adults that they will become one day. I suppose the most important lesson that I want students to grasp after spending time with me is that our gifts and talents are ever-evolving and changing. Just because one subject is hard doesn’t mean it couldn’t also be a favorite. The challenges and successes that our students have in the Lower School will help define their own self-image as they grow up, and I want every student to leave their time with me feeling like they have the potential and tools within themselves to reach for their highest goal.