We’re profiling all of the teachers who make up our community of courageous learners, starting with our Middle Grades teachers.
Kelly joined the TCS team last year as a sixth-grade teacher. She’s taught students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Outward Bound crews, corporate clients, and middle school students since 1997.
What skills do you hope middle graders will learn by the time they graduate from TCS?
I want our students to be effective communicators with the proper reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills needed to build and maintain effective intra- and intercultural alliances; contributing community members who collaborate, create a healthy environment and an equitable society, and have goals to contribute to a vibrant economy; critical thinkers who apply learned approaches and information to new situations, deconstruct complex problems, and create and implement plans of action to solve them; and self sustainers who utilize people and resources around them to nourish themselves socially, emotionally, and physically.
How are you preparing them to learn these skills?
I think the Social Justice and the Anti-Bias statement we developed with Rosetta Lee says it best:
“The immersive project-based learning curriculum of the TCS Middle Grades seeks to create an environment in which students engage in exploring various aspects of identity in order to discover their authentic self, that of others, and the TCS community; build greater empathy for others; and develop deeper understanding of difference and oppression; gain and practice using tools to take action, create equity, and make a positive impact on our ever-changing world.
What about teaching makes you excited to come to school every day?
Middle grades students are vibrant, questioning, and energetic. Staying a step ahead of them in order to provide experiences to support them in realizing their own gifts is a thrilling and rewarding adventure!
Tell us about one of the most rewarding moments in your teaching career.
Anytime a student has an “Ah-ha, I got this!” moment of problem-solving success and self-discovery.
If you could meet any fictional or historical figure, who would it be?
Anne McCarty Braden (1924 – 2006) was a journalist, author, and community organizer from Kentucky, who organized white southerners to support the civil rights movement, defied racist real estate practices, and faced the House Un-American Activities Committee. She remained active for the rest of her life in the fight for social justice and led the Kentucky Alliance against Racist and Political Repression until her death.
What is something none of your students know about you?
I’ve lived in 7 states and spent at least 3 weeks in 5 countries.