What is your title/occupation?
First-grade teacher at Countryside Elementary School.
How long have you worked here?
I helped open Countryside in 2001.
What are you excited about on your campus and why?
Countryside School has an amazing culture, and it feels like a big family on our campus.
What do you like most about living here?
I love the hometown feel of Surprise with the large-city convenience.
What changes would you like to see in this area?
I am so excited about new stores opening in Surprise. I have been here since 1996 and have seen so much growth in a great direction.
Favorite community cause and why?
Our Surprise library children’s reading program during the summer. This is such a fun opportunity for children to practice reading for free over the summer.
When and why you moved here?
We moved to Surprise in 1996 when the city was just starting to grow. My oldest son was 6 months old and we knew we wanted to start our family in Surprise and be part of this awesome community.
Where you lived prior to moving?
Who is in your family?
My husband, Jeffrey, and sons, Koty, 22; Tanner, 21; and Hunter, 18; and our awesome dog, Junior, short for Cal Ripken Jr.
What do you like most about your job?
My favorite part of teaching is watching my first-graders learn to read. The excitement on their faces is pure joy. I am so happy to be able to share my love of reading with my students.
If you could pick another occupation, what would it be?
A librarian or work in a bookstore. But I have been teaching for 26 years and can’t imagine doing anything else.
What are your interests and hobbies?
Reading and hanging out with my awesome family.
Describe one of the happiest moments in your life.
When each of my children were accepted into their respective colleges to play baseball and further their education. There isn’t a better feeling than knowing the kids you have raised are successful, kind adults that are ready to take on the world.
What is your best and worst habit?
Worst: staying up too late reading. Best: laughing and loving life.
What traits do you admire in others?
Kindness and acceptance of everyone.
Who is a person that inspires you and why?
My mom. She always has a smile and is kind to everyone she meets. She would do anything to help others. She loves all her grandchildren and my sister and I unconditionally. I got my love of reading from her as well.
What is your guiding philosophy?
Every student can learn, we as teachers just need to connect and find the way that inspires each child. Never give up on your dreams.
What is your advice for today’s youth?
Treat everyone you meet like you would want to be treated. Be kind. Always try your best. And remember to be a kid. Play and have fun.