Nineteen MSTA members were among the 35 teachers named 2019-20 Regional Teachers of the Year as part of the Missouri Teacher of the Year program through the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Each Wednesday, a new profile will be shared online celebrating these outstanding educators. You can see profiles of all 19 MSTA members honored as Regional Teachers of the Year in the Fall 2019 issue of School & Community.

School building: Zalma Elementary
School District: Zalma R-5
Grade/Subject Taught: Title 1 ELA K-6th
Years teaching: 21

What is one of your goals for this year?

One of my goals for this year is to complete my dyslexia certificate from MSU and to incorporate what I learn into my lessons to better reach all my students.

Describe yourself without using the word “teacher” or “educator.” 

I am a wife, mom, daughter, reader, gardener, and Jesus follower.

Why did you decide to become a teacher?

I decided to become a teacher because my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Marshall, connected with me and taught me not only how to read but to love reading.

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe all children can learn—not in the same way and maybe not at the same level, but it is our job as educators to find not only  the right placement for them but the right way to teach them so that they can enjoy life and be successful in it. 

I have always felt that teaching was my calling but I knew for sure a few years in after I had tutored a young girl for several summers and reading finally clicked for her. She became a proficient reader after struggling for so long. I really can’t describe the feeling it gave me, but I knew I was doing what I was supposed to do.

What career would you like to have if you weren’t a teacher?

If I weren’t a teacher I would probably be in some sort of service industry because I love being around people.

What’s your favorite book and why?

My favorite book is At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon. I connect with the characters and feel like they could be family.

What is something on your bucket list?

I would love to return to Spain and swim in the Mediterranean Sea one more time.

What do you do to relieve stress?

To relieve stress I read, walk and talk with a friend, and/or pray.

What’s something about you that your students would be surprised to learn?

My students might be surprised to learn that I was a preemie and weighed only three pounds when I was born.