Hometown: Canada to North Carolina to Texas to Roanoke, VA
Education: Duke University
Year Appointed: 2001
Current Position: Faculty - Fourth Grade Language Arts
I was born in Edmonton in Alberta, Canada. When I was just a toddler my family moved to Durham, North Carolina where my dad did his residency. We also lived in Houston, Texas for a couple of years. Then in 1979 we moved to Roanoke where my dad decided to join a private practice, and we moved to Roanoke. I went to Cave Spring High School and then on to Duke University where I studied psychology.
When did you meet Eric?
Eric and I actually met at the RAC! I had just graduated from college and was actually thinking about moving to Boston. Eric had also just graduated from Liberty University and was about to start working at the CAC, the CAC was still in its final days of construction at the time. Eric’s roommate was a friend of mine and that’s how we met. We actually started as friends. My mom is a wonderful cook so Eric would go over to my parents house to eat with or without me! Once we started dating, we were engaged within a few weeks! We just knew that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. We will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary this May.
How did your career begin with North Cross School?
Well I actually worked at the CAC for a while when it first opened but took a few years off to start a family, then I actually worked in the admission office before becoming a teacher. When our oldest child, Emily ’10, was starting kindergarten I decided to homeschool her. I absolutely loved teaching her, especially how to read, but quickly decided that I did not want to homeschool our children forever. Emily started at North Cross her first grade year. At the time Carol Funderburke was the Director of Admission. She was about to have her first child and needed someone to help in the admission office during her maternity leave. She asked me and Janie Mountcastle to share the task. When she returned, I continued to work for her and then with Emily Brown for two more years. It was during that time that I decided to get my teaching certificate and Masters from UVA. Once I completed that, Liz offered me the 4th grade language arts teaching position. I started in 2004 and am now in my eleventh year.
How was the transition from the admission office to teaching?
Well I wouldn’t consider myself a good sales person, but I really liked working in the admission office. Our two oldest children, Sam ’12 and Emily ’10, had been in the lower school for several years at this point and were having a great experience. It was very easy and natural to talk to people about what I was experiencing first hand. However, I was really more passionate about teaching and was excited about the transition. Mary Semler had been working in fourth grade for a few years and she had experience teaching multiple grade levels and at different schools. She was a mentor for me and helped make my transition as seamless as possible. She has a wealth of knowledge and taught me how to teach a whole child, solve problems, and manage a classroom. Not to mention Liz and the rest of the lower school faculty were so supportive and always willing to help.
What is your favorite part about teaching fourth grade?
I love teaching language arts and seeing the children connect to the stories and literature that we read. It is inspiring to watch them have a new realization and actually understand the humor and fun in books. It makes reading exciting for them. My favorite part of the year is reading The Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson, which is what we are reading now. It is a stimulating book and of course, combines my love for my favorite sport, baseball! I also really enjoy teaching writing and grammar. In Fourth grade, students write extensively in every subject area. This is challenging for the students, but I try to help them understand what an important skill it is to have not only now but for their future as well.