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LOWER SCHOOL FACULTY

Natalie Baugh, Kindergarten

“Every child deserves a champion; an adult who will never give up on them, who understand the power of connection and insists they become the best they can possibly be.” – Rita Person, Educator

Hello! I am eager to begin my second year of teaching at Terra Verde. I am a Lubbock, Texas native who moved to Norman to attend The University of Oklahoma in the fall of 2013. During my time at OU, I studied Early Childhood Education. My experiences throughout my undergraduate program confirmed that working with children is where my passion lies. Spending days in the classroom is unlike any experience in the world. This career allows me to reflect, grow and continue learning every day.  I cannot wait to embark on the adventure that is Kindergarten!

My family includes an encouraging fiancé named Dane, who I met in high school. We are excited to embark on married life next July! My parents, Tim and Gina still reside in Lubbock, Texas and are avid Texas Tech fans and my wonderful sister lives in Austin. My pride and joy, Phoebe is a Dachshund who turns one in December. She will be joining us in Kindergarten from time to time with a wagging tail and kisses to share.

Terra Verde is the perfect fit for me. My philosophy and beliefs regarding education align with the mission and goals of Terra Verde. I am eager to create a community of learners who respect the differences of our world and recognize the role they play. Students must learn the cognitive skills to succeed in this world but more importantly they must learn how to be caring individuals. Our classroom will be one in which children produce knowledge and form meaning based on their experiences. I maintain a passion and commitment to help all students become independent thinkers who believe in themselves as unique individuals. I am delighted to have the opportunity to work alongside the amazing faculty, families, and children that make up Terra Verde Discovery School.

Melissa McCurry, 1st Grade

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” – Albert Einstein

I am honored to start teaching my second year at Terra Verde as the first grade teacher. I am originally from Wichita Falls, TX where I graduated with a degree in Early Childhood Education from Midwestern State University. I met my husband, Jason McCurry, while in college. He was an officer in the United States Air Force at the time which allowed us to live in amazing locations. While in Texas, I taught one year in Kindergarten before moving to the United Kingdom for four years. Once we returned to the States, we were stationed in Florida where I had the privilege to teach kindergarten at an excellent charter school. I moved with those kindergarten students to first grade. After two years in Florida, we moved back to my husband’s home state of Oklahoma. We are proud to call Norman our forever home and raise our children in this wonderful community. Since living in Oklahoma, I have taught kindergarten and first grade. I will begin my 9th year of teaching this fall.

My daughter and son will both attend Terra Verde this school year. Emily is a fifth grader and Jon is a kindergartener.  Our lives stay busy with Taekwondo lessons and soccer practices. In our free time, my family loves to travel as much as possible. We are also active OU fans. Our family’s favorite sporting event to attend is the OU women’s gymnastics meets. I enjoy reading books, gardening, and spending time with my family.

My life’s passion is teaching. I am in a constant state of learning, researching, and improving my craft. My teaching philosophy is that all students can be successful when learning is student-centered and hands-on. I gear my classroom to be a nurturing environment where students can take risks, try new and challenging tasks, support each other, and question the world around them. First grade is a remarkable time when young learners explore many different passions and interests, and I have to privilege to guide them to new discoveries. My favorite aspect about teaching is when a student finally overcomes a difficult task and a celebration of excitement happens because of the achievement. Nothing is worth more in the world than seeing a child beam with pride and happiness after achieving a goal. I am thrilled to share my love of teaching with the students of Terra Verde!

Caitlyn Williams, 2nd Grade

Hello Terra Verde Families! My name is Caitlyn Williams. I am so excited to join your school community and would like to tell you a little bit about myself before meeting you. I was born and raised in Moore, Oklahoma. I graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2015 with my degree and dual certification in Elementary and Early Childhood Education. As a product of Moore Public Schools, I moved back home and began my career teaching kindergarten at Plaza Towers Elementary. I relocated to Broadmoore Elementary the following school year and have since taught a year of both Second Grade and Kindergarten. I have absolutely adored my time as a teacher so far and truly look forward to beginning a new chapter of life at Terra Verde. I was introduced to Terra Verde by the Mackey family and knew immediately that your school would be a perfect fit for me. I strive daily to use collaborative, innovative, and hands-on techniques to encourage personal and academic growth in my classroom.

I bought my first home in 2016 and currently live on the southeast side of Moore with my two pups, Jax and Jasper. When I am not teaching, I love being outside in the sunshine. I have recently discovered my green thumb, or so I think. A few of my favorite things include walking my dogs with our neighbors, traveling, hiking, and kayaking. I am a bit of a creature of habit and stop every morning for my dose of Starbucks, so I’d say coffee is pretty important too!

I am looking forward to meeting and getting to know each and everyone in the Terra Verde community as well as having an incredible school year. See you soon!

Tracy Miller, 3rd Grade

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”–Nelson Mandela

Norman is now my hometown. I actually grew up in Elk City, Oklahoma but I came to the University of Oklahoma in 1991 and adopted this great place. Graduating from OU with an elementary education degree was the first step in my life-long career as an educator. I taught in Noble, Oklahoma for 5 years, and have been in Norman since 2001. I have added to my certification over the years to include mild/moderate disabilities and mathematics for high school credit. Over the years I have taught 3rd-6th grades, including 2 years in a Special Education resource classroom setting. I am proud to be a third generation teacher, following in my parents’ and grandparents’ footsteps.

Terra Verde invited me to join the team in 2015. Even though I had been teaching for 20 years in a public school setting, my first year at Terra Verde revived my creative drive and passion for teaching! Being outdoors with students as they make discoveries about their world is exciting! Students here truly have joy for learning each day because their natural curiosity is encouraged and developed!

My philosophy about teaching and learning falls in line with Terra Verde’s mission. I feel so blessed to be at a school where children are expected to be seekers of their own knowledge. I see myself as a facilitator and guide in the students’ process. Creating a classroom environment in which students feel safe to make mistakes is important in the learning process, while maintaining high expectations for both social and academic growth keeps everyone accountable and motivated to improve. I am often awed and inspired to work even harder for my students when they show that “spark” for learning.

I have been married to a supportive husband, James, for 24 years. Our two daughters, Jenna and Lindsey are in high school and are active student athletes. The girls are both in competitive soccer so our family stays very busy on the weekends! We absolutely love and support our community. I feel very fortunate to have found Terra Verde, where my passion for student-learning seems to get stronger each year. And my daughter, Jenna, says she’d like to start the fourth generation of teachers in our family!

Megan Moser, 4th grade

I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to make many ripples.  -Mother Teresa

Joining the Terra Verde staff is a dream-come-true for me. It truly is a family, as students, teachers, and parents work together not only for student achievement, but also to make a difference in the community around them.

I grew up in Kansas, and moved to Norman for college. I graduated in 2003 from The University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. I have taught for 10 years in Norman Public Schools, teaching third grade for 9 years and one year in fourth. I achieved National Board Certification in 2009 as a Middle Childhood Generalist. I have been the recipient of several Norman Public Schools Foundation grants, Donors Choose grants, an Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence grant for professional development, and was voted Teacher of the Year in 2008 by my fellow faculty members.

In 2009, I married my husband, George. Our son Greyson was born in 2011. I enjoy reading, and am an avid runner. I have run the Oklahoma Memorial Marathon twice, finishing both the half and the full marathon. The two other members of the family are our dogs, Lucy (a Boxer) and the newest addition, Bo (a Boston Terrier).

I believe in creating a community of learners. Building relationships with my students is my number-one priority. I believe in creating an atmosphere of trust, kindness, mutual respect, and one where we cheer each other to success! I believe in differentiating instruction through the use of small groups in order to meet individual student needs. Small group instruction is important because it allows students to interact with one another about the subject matter. I believe this interaction solidifies the concepts I am trying to teach, as well as creating a classroom environment where we all (teacher and students) have the opportunity to teach and learn. Small group work also allows me to interact personally, and connect with each student so that I can tailor my instruction to their individual needs.

I feel that imagination is one of the most important qualities in a student that should be encouraged. I believe in facilitating learning experiences that allow students to use their imaginations and creativity. Students will engage in many simulations that will encourage them to place themselves in the shoes of someone from the past. This year students will be explorers, detectives, pioneers, and passengers on the Titanic! These experiences will allow students to explore other perspectives and engage in critical thinking as they discover more about the past, as well as helping them grow into people who can appreciate another person’s point of view, look for solutions to complex problems, and work together with differing personality types to achieve group goals.

I am honored to join the Terra Verde staff and look forward to continuing to grow as a teacher. Each year of my career, I have felt that my students teach me as much as I teach them, and I’m happy that I will have the chance at Terra Verde to challenge myself as a teacher in new and exciting ways.

 

Angela Reed, 5th Grade

“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.”  -Carl Jung

I am beyond excited for the adventure of teaching and learning at Terra Verde Discovery School.  Being a teacher is a great responsibility, but it is also very rewarding.  It is my job to inspire students to excel in academics, build their social skills, encourage their creative thinking, and to prepare them to take on any challenges in life.  None of these things are possible without a classroom of mutual respect where all students have the opportunity to grow individually and as a team.

When I was a kid my dad worked in the oilfields.   I was in fourteen different schools on three different continents by the time I began the 9th grade.  My diversified childhood helped mold me into a teacher that creates a challenging but safe environment so students are more willing to take risks.

I graduated high school in New Mexico and attended college in-state.  My junior year I moved to Norman to attend the University of Oklahoma.  I graduated in 1997 with my bachelor’s degree in elementary education and then in 1999 with my master’s degree in instructional leadership and academic curriculum.  During this same time, I met my husband.  We have three children.  Our oldest son is married and lives in Norman.  Our daughter  graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma with a degree in sociology in May of 2018.  Our youngest is a middle school student at Terra Verde.

Since beginning my teaching career in 1997, I have taught 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades.  I began teaching for Oklahoma City Public Schools.  I also taught in Norman Public Schools at Kennedy Elementary for five years beginning in 2012.  I have been a team leader, a mentor to many young people entering the teaching profession, and in 2016 I was selected by my peers as the site teacher of the year.

Outside of school I love to read and spend quality time with my family.  We are often at our youngest son’s baseball or basketball games or his taekwondo events.  I enjoy watching just about any sport, but especially OU.