Micci Underwood, Music
“I would teach children music, physics, and philosophy; but most importantly music, for the patterns in music and all the arts are the keys to learning.” — Plato
Micci Underwood holds a B.S. in Piano Performance with a minor in Psychology as well as a Master of Music Education with an emphasis in Kodaly Methodology. She has taught in private and public school settings and has worked with children ages birth through college. Micci teaches Kindergarten through 8th grade music at Terra Verde, runs a private piano studio, and teaches music camps over the summer.
Micci’s passions in teaching include teaching every student at every level in order to help them develop into self-sufficient musicians. She believes every child should be exposed to a wide variety of music including classical, folk, and multicultural through singing, dancing, composing, and playing instruments. Most of all, she wants kids to love music.
Micci is married to Nathan Underwood, Terra Verde’s “Mr. Everything,” janitor, handyman, sound technician, etc. They have two daughters, Isabel and Onora. When Micci is not teaching, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, attending community arts events and roller derby bouts, reading, cooking, and playing ukulele in the hammock.
Paige Murphy, Physical Education and Wellness
In 1995, Paige Murphy earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Education with a specialization in Special Education from Baylor University. She continued her academic career at Baylor where she earned her Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology in 1997.
She taught Special Education at Jackson Elementary in Norman from 1999 until her daughter, Blair, was born in 2008. At that time, she chose to leave the classroom and become a “stay at home” mom.
Paige became a part of the Terra Verde community in 2013, when she began tutoring students at the school. She immediately fell in love with the authenticity of Terra Verde! The students enjoyed coming to school, and the teachers loved their jobs!
Paige knew she wanted to give Blair the best education possible. Fortunately, in 2014, Blair entered Kindergarten at Terra Verde. In the summer of 2016, the Physical Education position at TVDS became available. Paige knew it was the job opportunity she had been praying for. Needless to say, she was honored to be chosen for the position of Health and Wellness educator, and is enjoying her 11th year of teaching. She considers it a privilege to be able to combine her love for teaching and her love for physical fitness at the most amazing school in the country!
Shelly Wilson, Physical Education and Wellness
“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” John F. Kennedy
Shelly Wilson earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration as well as an elementary education teaching certificate from the University of Oklahoma in 1989. She began a successful business career in 1995, managing five restaurants with over 150 employees. She retired from business when her first child was born and began to focus her attention on the benefits of physical activity and wellness.
At Terra Verde the Physical Education and Wellness program is designed to provide students with the knowledge and ability to perform a variety of movements. Through active participation, students will foster an appreciation for personal fitness and other social skills vital to becoming healthy, productive members of the community. Each lesson is carefully planned to maximize the amount of time students are engaged in moderate to vigorous physical activity. The following are utilized to meet the goals of the physical education curriculum: Adventure Education, Individual Activities, Aerobic Endurance, Muscular Fitness, and Team Sports. In addition to this organizing framework, Fitness, Health, and Safety concepts are incorporated throughout all grade levels.
Anthony Kendall, Physical Education and Middle School Basketball Coach
Greetings Terre Verde community. My name is Anthony Kendall and I was born in 1976 in Camel, California but raised the majority of my life in Houston, Texas where I graduated from Ross Sterling High School in 1995. I then moved to Oklahoma to attend the University of Oklahoma on an academic scholarship and later became involved in the school system. I’ve worked diligently with special needs students and have been coaching basketball and softball for the last 8 years. Helping children succeed in life has always been a passion of mine, in and out of the classroom. Being part of TVDS will continue my will to help and teach kids.
I have 2 younger brothers and we grew up in a single parent household, but my mother still managed to work and take care of 3 hard headed boys who loved sports as much as she did herself. They are 4 years and 9 years younger than I am. My hobbies are, other than coaching and teaching, camping, fishing, watching ESPN, traveling, and arts & crafts. I love watching my kids in their events and spending time with them also, but I just love coaching basketball and softball .
Joining TVDS is a great and exceptional feeling, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be a positive influence for the students, their families, and the faculty. I look forward to getting to know everyone and teach a loving knowledge of athletics.
Yolly Beckenhauer, Resource Faculty
“People become really quite remarkable when they start thinking that they can do things. When they believe in themselves they have the first secret of success.” Norman Vincent Peale
I am Yolanda “Yolly” Beckenhauer and I am thrilled to be a returning member of the Terra Verde team! I grew up in Norman, Oklahoma where my family trained horses for the sport of polo for Broad Acres Polo Club. I enjoyed growing up on a polo ranch, where there were many horses and other animals. I attended Norman schools from first grade through college, where I graduated from the University of Oklahoma. I began my teaching career with Moore Public Schools where I taught my first 21 years, then the next 14 years at Monroe Elementary in Norman. I retired from Norman Public Schools in May 2014 after 35 years of teaching special education.
I have been married to my husband, Rod, for 37 years and together we have 3 grown children, Sara, Ryan, and Haleigh. We enjoy spending time together when schedules allow. I have many interests, but mainly art and sewing, both of which I have been able to use in my teaching. My sewing interest involves costuming for the Sooner Theatre, weddings, interior decorating, and alterations. I have had my students make costumes for plays and they have made pillows that they used for fun reading days. My favorite piece of artwork was a mural that I painted for Monroe Elementary’s 50th Anniversary. It is a large mural painted on 4 pieces of birchwood of mustangs that I entitled “Mustang Majesty” in honor of their mascot. It will be displayed when the front of the building is reconstructed. It was nice to leave a little part of me when I retired from the school where I taught and where my own children attended elementary school.
As a teacher, my greatest accomplishments have been the rewards of connecting with students and their parents to reach a common goal – to enjoy learning and have a positive attitude toward learning regardless of any struggles they may have. As acknowledgment of my successful relationships with my students, I received several honors including site Teacher of the Year in Moore, site Teacher of the Year in Norman, Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year, and AMBUCS Special Education Teacher of the Year.
Cindy Sandoval, Resource Faculty
I am honored to join the Terra Verde family as a special education teacher. I have two sons, Damian (14) and Isaac (12), who keep me busy! Damian plays soccer for his high school team, and Isaac is in the junior high band. In my spare time, I enjoy attending sporting events, watching old movies, and spending time with family and friends.
I grew up in rural Oklahoma but have lived in Moore for the last 13 years. I attended Oklahoma Christian University, where I earned a bachelor’s degree in special education (2004). I taught in Moore Public Schools for 13 years, teaching elementary special education for 11 years and high school special education for 2 years. During my time in Moore schools, I also achieved National Board Certification as an Exceptional Needs Specialist (2009), and I earned a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Central Oklahoma (2013).
I am working with the Terra Verde leadership team to launch a high school transition program for students with disabilities. I am passionate about working with individuals who have disabilities and teaching them the skills they need to live a fulfilled life and be contributing members of their community. I am drawn to the idea of building an inclusive community where individuals with disabilities are an integral part of our society. Creating job opportunities, social groups, housing facilities, and other avenues of success for this special population are deeply important to me. I am excited to see what we can accomplish at Terra Verde!
Julie Eberle, Art and Bonus Time
“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” Albert Einstein
I started my educational career as an artist. I received my BFA with an emphasis in sculpture and a minor in Art History from The University of Oklahoma. With a goal of teaching young children, I continued my studies and earned my Elementary Education certification at O.U. While teaching for Norman Public Schools, I completed my Masters in Education at the University of Central Oklahoma.
I taught at Adams Elementary here in Norman as a classroom teacher and then moved to a resource teaching position. Up until May of 2012, I was the Gifted Resource Teacher at Adams Elementary, serving Kindergarten through 5th grade students. I struggled to leave my home at Adams but was eager to play a larger role in the Terra Verde community.
I have been a parent and part-time art teacher at Terra Verde from the beginning and have loved every minute of it. It is a life-changing place. The philosophy of education that is the foundation for teaching practices at TVDS is focused on instilling a love of learning in each child. I want this for my own children and am thrilled to be a part of it as an educator.
Art is powerful in elementary education. My students are constantly making connections to their daily learning as they create art work that is related to all subject areas. Art education develops creative problem-solvers. My students learn to celebrate multiple perspectives and that there can be more than one solution to a problem. If every child at TVDS knows that he/she is an artist, then I have done my job. I am so fortunate to teach what I love and work with an amazing team, supportive parents, and stellar students!
May Tsay, Mandarin Teacher
Ni hao, everyone! My name is Dongmei Tsay. I usually go by May. I was born and raised in Nanning, China, graduating from Sun Yat-sen University (Guangzhou, China) with a master degree in Teaching Chinese as A Second Language. I started my teaching career in 2012, traveling to the Philippines to teach Mandarin at the Early Achievers’ Learning Center. I found such happiness teaching Mandarin and Chinese culture to the students in the Philippines that it continued my desire to educate more foreign students. I soon found myself coming to America, Conway Arkansas to be specific, and teaching faculty and students at the University of Central Arkansas. I would also spend my time at the University helping with administering Chinese Proficiency Tests, such as the HSK and YCT, also organizing and promoting Chinese cultural activities.
After one year, I was hoping to gain more experience of teaching Mandarin to the youth. I decided to move to Hot Springs to teach Mandarin in public schools in Hot Springs School District, from 7th to 12th grade. During my time at Hot Springs I met my husband Shyang who lived in Oklahoma City. We had a long distance relationship for quite some time. We were married in December in 2016 and I moved to OKC to be with him this summer. I was then able to join TVDS this year. I am so excited to have the opportunity to be here as a part of TVDS and cannot wait to teach the students here in creative, innovative and productive ways and immerse them in Chinese culture through the Mandarin language.
Lili Yu, Long-Term Mandarin Substitute
Hello! My name is Lili Yu. You can call me Lily. I am so excited to be a member of TVDS and would like to share with you some of my experiences. I was born and raised in Qiqihar China. I graduated from Heng Shui University (Heng Shui China) in 2010 and taught English to young children at New Oriental Education & Technology Group about four years in Harbin China.
I came to America in 2015 and attended OCCC with a major in Child Development, and graduated in May 2018. During my time in OCCC, I did a lot of observations and labs based upon different content areas and curriculum. I found that language development especially the acquisition of second language exerts huge influence on children’s brain development. Also, the exposures to different cultures help children learn the importance of respect.
Luckily, I had a chance to teach Mandarin Chinese in Norman Chinese School since 2016, which provided me a good opportunity to plan the curriculum and practice my skills. Lastly, thanks to the TVDS for giving me this opportunity and I am looking forward to seeing all TVDS families soon. Thank you!
Yuchen Wu, Mandarin Intern
Hello Terra Verde Families!
My name is Wu Yu-chen. I am studying the program of Teaching Chinese as a Second Language at National Chi Nan University. I have prior experience in teaching adult Chinese classes (Beginner to Advanced) and have also taught abroad at Czech Republic Masaryk University, Malaysia Multimedia University and University of Nottingham.
In addition to adult Chinese teaching experience, I have also taught primary students. I love bringing class activities into the curriculum to help students understand easily and enhance their learning interest. I also conduct cultural activities such as paper cutting, writing calligraphy and make dumplings to let students experience the Chinese culture.
I love teaching and love children very much! Teaching young children make my eyes shine and makes me happy. I am a patient person and can carefully listen to students’ problem and help them reach a solution. Although I am a teacher, I also learn from students. I am looking forward to meeting you.
Gary Lai, Mandarin Intern
Hello Terra Verde Families!
My name is Gary Lai. I am from the Department of Teaching Chinese as a Second Language at Chung Yuan Christian University.
I was born in a loving family with my father, mother and a younger sister. I feel extremely blessed to be born in this family. My parents always taught me the value of being a positive and good person.
During these four years learning how to teach Chinese as a second language in university, I have taken courses such as Teaching methods, Second Language Acquisition. I have done several practicums on campus. I realize that teaching is one of the holiest tasks and will influence students’ lives. I’m not only learning the teaching skills but also how to take good care of students. To love and encourage your students is my teaching philosophy.
I worked and traveled in the USA in 2016. It is an amazing memory in my life. I still remember how honorable it was when I shared the Chinese characters to my colleagues. They were very interested when I gave them the Chinese names and told them stories and meanings about the characters. I felt a sense of accomplishment when they told me they were interested in Chinese because of my instructions.
I am looking forward to meeting everyone in the Terra Verde families. See you guys soon!