My husband, David, and I had gone to high school together. He was in graduate school at Virginia Tech and I was finishing my undergraduate degree at Hollins. After graduation David and I were married and moved to Wilmington, North Carolina for his job and I taught kindergarten. A few years later David was transferred to Wilson, North Carolina and the school system there was looking for teachers for students with learning difficulties. Because my undergraduate degree was in psychological services and education they hired me and paid for me to attend East Carolina University to earn my Masters in Education. Several years later, after another move to Seaford, Delaware, we had an opportunity to come to Roanoke, which we had both loved in college. We moved here in 1986 and it has been home ever since.
And when did you become a member of the North Cross community?
My oldest daughter, Sarah, was three years-old when we moved to Roanoke. In 1988 she started kindergarten at North Cross. So my first relationship with North Cross was as a lower school parent for two years before I actually worked here. In 1990, North Cross had an opening for a second grade teacher alongside Eileen Strulson. I interviewed with Liz Holt and David Dougherty and got the job! Sarah was starting the second grade that year as well so we learned all about the second grade together. She was in Mrs. Strulson’s class but I loved teaching all of her classmates and friends, whom she remains very close with today.
What was it like teaching with Eileen Strulson?
It was wonderful, she is wonderful! What an amazing opportunity it was. She quickly became my mentor and very good friend. She trained me in all things North Cross.
What is your favorite North Cross tradition?
The Fat Pencil Ceremony is my favorite! It encompasses the whole North Cross experience. It sums up exactly what I wanted for my children and what they got at North Cross. It is such a simple thing, but it is that sense of family, foundation, and support. No one told me how emotional it was the first year I attended and I didn’t have any tissues… I’ve never made that mistake again! It’s the retelling of shared experiences that build our community and make us a family.
What makes the lower school such a special place?
Being surrounded by primary colors, unexpected hugs, and such sense of wonder. How can you not benefit from an environment like that? When Liz Holt did her “Teacher Feature” she said the thing she missed the most about the lower school were the hugs. I know exactly what she is talking about, and it is one of the things I love the most.
What has been your favorite moment at North Cross so far?
Seeing glimpses of my daughters, Sarah and Catherine, throughout the day. We worked hard to maintain our distance during the school days, but I loved catching a glimpse of them walking to the CAC or the cafeteria. I feel very fortunate to have had that.
What makes you such a kind, nurturing, and patient person?
Well, I don’t know that I always am, but thank you for saying that. I genuinely care about what's going on around me.
Tell me a funny story that has happened since moving back to the lower school.
Oh, there are many! One that stands out happened one morning in carpool. I love seeing the children each morning in carpool, they are so eager to come to school and learn and it gives me a fresh start everyday. One morning the football team was helping with carpool and I went to help one student out of their car and they politely told me they would prefer to wait for a football player to help them. It was so sweet, I just loved it.