Posted on May 15th, 2020 in Staff Spotlight

School: Mary Bryan Elementary

Grade/Subject: Grades 1-5 / English Language Learners

Education Background: I received my bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Florida State University.  As a 2003 graduate, EL wasn’t a big need in Perry Township Schools at that time.  However, I was in Florida where my husband was stationed in the Air Force, and it was built into my education degree curriculum since it was already a large focus in the community I was serving. Little did I know what a perfect fit it would be for me once we transitioned back to our hometown of Indianapolis, IN. I love supporting our wonderful EL families!

What goals do you have for your students?
At Mary Bryan, we have a simple motto that all staff follows to give a broad definition of our goal: “We grow kids!”  At the beginning of every school year, we meet with all 300+ EL students to determine their most recent WIDA (World-class Instructional Design and Assessment) score. Then we point out their strongest domain and help them find a goal area to focus on. We give our students specific strategies they can take back to the classroom to grow in that area and check-in with them throughout the year. Once WIDA scores arrive in the spring, we meet again to celebrate their success. This year, we still found a way to celebrate, but it looked a little different through Google Meet!

Name your favorite band or musician.
My favorite musician is Kenny Chesney.  My husband and I have been to many of his concerts over the years. I like to listen to country, Christian, or Disney music on Spotify at home.

What is something your students might be surprised to learn about you?
In October 2018, I completed one of the hardest hikes in America with my husband and our two oldest children. We woke up early to complete the five-mile hike of Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park. The hike is physically challenging with 21 switchbacks and an elevation gain of 1,500 feet. It is also mentally challenging because hikers have to use chains to access the summit with 800-foot drop-offs on either side in certain areas. It is my most mentally challenging accomplishment to date. The views of the river and park from the top were breathtaking. I would love to do it again as I would be less nervous and enjoy it even more. You can experience the Angel’s Landing virtual hike here!

Choose one and explain why: Oscar, Olympic gold, or Showcase Showdown.
Showcase Showdown, I love to win prizes!

Name 3 people — living or dead — who you would like to invite to dinner.
I can’t choose 3 people, but I would love the chance to have dinner with my maternal grandmother who passed away when I was four. Many people tell me I remind them of her so I would enjoy having a conversation with her as an adult.

When you were a kid, what were your career aspirations?
I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. I am the oldest of 3 siblings and I set up a classroom in my room where I could teach my “students.” I kept grade books, made anchor chart posters, and had my own chalkboard!

Where is the best place you’ve traveled to and why?
I love to travel with my family and have been to many exciting places in the U.S. The best trip, so far, was a two-and-a-half week road trip out west in the fall of 2018. We saw Zion & Arches National Parks in Utah, Horseshoe Bend & Monument Valley in Arizona, Yosemite National Park, San Francisco, Pismo Beach, and Anaheim in California. From rainbows over the desert, bears, mountains, and giant sequoias in Yosemite, the Golden Gate Bridge, whale watching in Pismo, and Disneyland to end it all — it was the trip of a lifetime!

If you were trapped on a deserted island, what are the three items you would want with you?
A charged cellphone with reception, a flashlight that would never go out, and a blanket.

What have you been doing for fun during quarantine?
We have been playing games as a family, taking the dog for extra walks, and watching a lot more movies. Once the school year wraps up, I want to learn how to write calligraphy.