My husband, Evan, was working as a news producer and we moved with him a few times. When we met he was working in Erie, but we moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, then back to Erie, before he got a job with WDBJ7 and moved to Roanoke. He now works for WFIR. At the time my daughter, Ally, was a junior in high school so the kids and I stayed in Erie for her to graduate. It just so happens that she chose to attend William & Mary, so the summer after she graduated we all made the move to Virginia.
How did your career begin with North Cross School?
I come from a strong Catholic family. I grew up going to Catholic school in Erie and Grand Rapids, both of my children attended Catholic school, and I had worked mostly in Catholic schools. When we moved to Roanoke, my son, Chris ’04, was about to start ninth grade so the first obvious choice was to look at Roanoke Catholic and we were also looking at Cave Spring. Not only were we looking for a new school, but we were also looking for a new home. Our realtor was North Cross alum and board member, Anne Lee Stevens. Anne Lee has a long history with North Cross; her mother, Dottie, was a teacher and staff member for over 20 years and she and her son, Peter, both attended North Cross. She encouraged us to at least visit and tour with North Cross. When we met with Carol Funderburke in Admissions we were immediately impressed and knew North Cross would be a good fit for Chris. I had been offered a job with Roanoke City Schools; but while going through the admission process with Chris, Carol asked what I did for a living, I told her I was a high school math teacher, and she said they were looking for someone for upper school and middle school math. The rest is history!
So you taught upper school math when you first arrived?
Well my first year I was solely teaching middle school math. Then my second year I taught both, middle and upper school math. I went back and forth for about five years and then I was given the chance to choose either or. It was funny because I had always taught at the high school level, but found a passion for teaching in the middle school when I came to North Cross. Not only did I love the students, but I was drawn to the faculty and staff in the middle school as well. It was a fun group of people and it really felt like home.
Was there any teacher that stood out as a mentor to you at that time?
Yes, Debbie Sharp. Debbie taught 6th and 7th grade math at the time. North Cross was different from any school I had ever taught in and she really gave me a lot of insight on the history of the school and showed me how to navigate.
In 2012 you received the “Most Inspiring Teacher” award in The Roanoker magazine. What do you think the students find inspiring about you and your class?
Oh I don’t know, but I was so honored to have won that! I do a lot of hands on work with my students and I think they really enjoy learning with a different approach. For example my 8th grade geometry students are about to learn how to find the center of gravity. We will construct triangles using a compass and a ruler, then they will have to balance their triangles on the end of a pin and will determine which theorems were used. I think lessons like that keep things exciting.
What do your students find most surprising about you?
I love to travel. The kids think it is so funny that I have ziplined in St. Kitts and been to a Nascar race! Not that it is surprising, but I am also very proud of my children’s accomplishments. After graduating from North Cross, my son, Chris ’04, attended Clemson University and is now in Columbus, OH working for Norfolk Southern and my daughter, Ally, received her undergraduate and Masters degree at William & Mary and is now the Manager of Marketing Analytics for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.