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A Coeducational, College Preparatory School for Ages 3 Through Grade 12
A Coeducational, College Preparatory School for Ages 3 Through Grade 12

TEACHER TUESDAY BLOG

"The teachers at ESD have transformed my life. In doing that, I have grown and touched the moon!"
- A member of the Class of 2018

Check back each week for a new post! 

Laura Ripley: Upper School English Teacher

What motivated and inspired you to teach? 
I was the little girl who got chalkboards and grade books for Christmas and played school with my stuffed animals; I think it was in me from the start!! In high school, I tutored my friends... my love for teaching has grown throughout my life, I guess!

Why are you excited to come to ESD every day? 
I absolutely love the students; they are so great. It’s fun to teach in this environment! I also love the people I’ve met on the staff; it’s great to be welcomed as part of the community.

Beyond your subject-area or discipline, what life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? 
That life and literature are connected...to paraphrase Fitzgerald, literature reminds us that we are not alone, that others have encountered many of our obstacles, and we can learn life lessons by connecting with literature.

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! 
I play French horn, and I love college football and basketball. I’m an avid Villanova Wildcat fan (woohoo!) And I love the Razorbacks and Clemson Tigers football!

What is your favorite book and why? 
Wuthering Heights!! Hands down, it’s my favorite. I love Heathcliff and Cathy’s story; they are both such complex, beautiful/terrible characters. And it’s such a love story!

If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be and why? 
Jesus - I just want to talk to him. There’s so much to talk about! My Aunt Jackie - she died when I was 16, and I miss her still. I want to see what she thinks about my life and my kids. Emily Bronte - we could chat about Heathcliff. My photo submitted is of my kids and I on the moors of Yorkshire - the setting of Wuthering Heights!

Posted by Katie Voss in Upper School on Tuesday November 6
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Megan Boyd '09: Cheerleading Program Director

What motivated and inspired you to teach? 
My passion for ESD, its mission, and our community motivates me in everything I do here at ESD. In both coaching and my role as Director of Alumni Relations, I strive to live out the mission, founding tenets, and beliefs of the school to better prepare our students/future alumni to enter life after ESD and be successful. For our alumni, my goal is to connect them back to the school and facilitate the relationship between our alumni and their alma mater. Whether alumni realize it or not, ESD has had an impact on our lives and helped shape us into the people we are today.

Why are you excited to come to ESD every day? 
ESD is an incredibly fun place to work. I believe so firmly in the mission and purpose of the school that it is easy to come to work and perpetuate that mission.

Beyond your subject-area or discipline, what life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? 
As a coach, I hope that my athletes will learn that everyone has their own strengths and can shine in many different ways. I strive to use each individuals strengths to lift them up and boost their self confidence.

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! 
I love to spend time with my friends and family. No matter what we are doing, I just love being with my people. My boyfriend and I travel a lot and we enjoy jet setting to places neither of us have ever been. We recently went to Santa Fe and next summer, we're doing a European tour of all the big cities like Dublin, Santorini, Barcelona, and Paris!

What is your favorite book and why? 
Ummm... anything that is not a textbook, having just finished my Masters of Nonprofit Management in July.

If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be and why? 
This is very cheesy, but probably my dad (who passed away 5 years ago), Garth Brooks, and Beyoncé. 

Posted by Katie Voss in Upper School on Tuesday October 23
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Dave Phillip: Middle School P.E. Teacher

 

What motivated and inspired you to teach?   I enjoy the daily interactions with young people in a competitive/fitness atmosphere. Each day is always different with young people!

What makes you excited to come to school every day? I hope to bring back a boys volleyball program to the school. This sport has been nonexistent for boys since 2001. A high school volleyball club has been created with over 20 male members involved on a weekly basis.

What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? Respect! Respect is the foundation to all relationships. & my favorite line from my favorite song: You can lose all your money, you can lose all your gold, you can never lose your heart, you can never lose your soul.

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! I love the San Antonio Spurs! My wife and I love to travel, we try to create the most fun pictures while visiting exotic locations. A few weeks ago we went to Lorraine Lake, Canada, and the views were amazing. 

What is your favorite book and why? Well honestly, I like movies. My top four movies are Big Fish, Serendipity, The Matrix, & Signs. The key theme behind them all is everything happens for a reason.

If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be? Gregg Popovich, the Spurs head coach, he connects to his players with respect and discipline, no matter their level. He is the best coach ever. My grandfather, he got Alzheimer’s when I was less than 12 years old and lived with us for 8 years with the disease. I never really got to know him well at all. My future self, that way I could give myself a heads up on some things!

Posted by Katie Voss in Upper School, Middle School on Tuesday October 16
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Van Rusuriye: Physics & Mathematics Teacher

What motivated and inspired you to teach?  Teaching was never in my life long plans until Graduate school. While working on a physics doctoral program at Texas Tech University, I applied and was given a National Science Foundation grant that allowed me access into a local high school. Only 10 Doctoral students In Science Mathematics, and Engineering were chosen each. There I shared my love and passion of physics with teachers and students. What motivated me to teach is the difference I saw that I was making in the lives of the kids that I interacted with. To see light bulb moment and joy of learning in the students while sharing about my passion of physics inspired me to choose the teaching profession.

What makes you excited to come to school every day? I am excited and always look forward to come to ESD every day because I get to work with some of the most amazing students I've ever interacted with. Students who are analytical thinkers, love learning, and love to be challenged. My colleagues are also supportive and great to be around.

What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? I would tell students that learning is more than a diploma. The best learning is through life experiences. To go out and enjoy life. Life is full of so many amazing things, but to make it more meaningful and fulfilling, one must find it in a cause outside him/herself.

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! An interesting thing about me is that I learned to speak French before I could speak English. Other languages I learned to speak include Kirundi, Swahili, Setswana, and currently learning Spanish. I have forgotten some of the languages since I learned most of them before the age of 9.

What is your favorite book and why? It might sound like a cliché, but the bible is my favorite book. It has shaped my character and every aspect of my life in general. It is the inspiration of my life as I try to live up to it to the best of my abilities.

If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be? I would love to have dinner with Jesus Christ because of his love and his underserved sacrifice for me. I owe my life to him and I would like to ask him many questions of his life on earth. I would also like to have dinner with Moses because of his life experiences and trials. I would like to hear about his life of going from living in a palace as a prince to spending 40 years in the desert and the challenges of leading the nation of Israel as the weight of the whole world on his shoulders. The third person I would like to have dinner with is George Washington. George Washington has had a profound impact on our nation’s history. To have a chance to spend some time with a leader like him would be very exciting.

Posted by Katie Voss in Upper School on Tuesday October 2
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Claire Mrozek: History Teacher and Junior Class Dean

 

What motivated and inspired you to teach? I had some amazing teachers growing up who pushed me and helped me understand things about myself I would not have understood otherwise.

What makes you excited to come to school every day? Every day is different; I never know where kids are going to take the material. Plus, most of them say "Thank you" on the way out the door.

What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? Working hard is never a bad idea.

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! I love pop culture. I love trying to figure out what the latest TV show, song, or internet meme says about what Americans care about in that moment.

What is your favorite book and why? I couldn't pick one. Every book I've ever read has given me something.

If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be? Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Teddy Roosevelt. What a crazy conversation that would be! I just think they all have very different Americas that I would like to understand better.

Posted by Julie A. Clardy in Upper School on Tuesday September 25
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Henry Heil: Head of Upper School and Government Teacher


What motivated and inspired you to teach?
 I was fortunate to have some incredible teachers, coaches, and mentors who hugely impacted my life both in and out of the classroom during my four years at Virginia Episcopal School. Upon graduation from college I, by some miracle, landed a one year internship at Culver Academy - one of the finest independent schools in the country - to teach history and coach. Working with motivated high school students clicked for me and I found that I could have a similar impact on them that my teachers had on me during my formative years.

What makes you excited to come to school every day? I walk into the Study Commons every morning with a smile on my face. It is a place where visible connections are made all day, every day. Not only is book learning happening, but students are building relationships with each other and their teachers. That is a special part of the ESD culture.

What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? I want all students to learn how to ask good questions, advocate for themselves, and build their character. Life lessons are equally, if not more, important as those learned from the textbook.

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! My family and I are huge Davidson College basketball fans. If I'm not at a school event between November and March, it is likely because Davidson is playing and we are all gathered around a TV or watching in person.

What is your favorite book and why? The End of Average by Todd Rose. It helped me understand that education can and needs to meet students where they are, breaking the old mold of standardization.

If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be? Don Mattingly - childhood idol; James Madison - would love for him to see our country now and hear what he imagined it might become when authoring our Constitution; and John Henry Heil - while I knew my grandfather as a child, I would like for him to meet his grandchildren (including his namesake) and pick his brain about the interesting life he led.

Posted by Julie A. Clardy in Upper School on Tuesday August 28
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Heather Cernoch: Upper School English and Literary Magazine Sponsor


What motivated and inspired you to teach? When I was young and someone asked me, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I'd always say "a teacher!" Over the years, however, my love of writing lead me in a different direction, and after graduating with my English and Journalism degrees, I went into publishing and journalism, which I did for seven years. However, I never felt fulfilled in my job. I started to imagine what it would be like to teach students how to write instead, not to mention discuss literature everyday, and my dreams to become a teacher resurfaced. I've been teaching for 10 years now, and I'm motivated and inspired on a daily basis by the incredible teachers who taught me in high school, all of whom I still think about, and my teacher mentors over the years.

What makes you excited to come to school every day? The environment at ESD feels scholarly and collegiate, and when I'm here, whether I'm collaborating with our talented teachers, working one-on-one with our fantastic students, or sitting in my office or in front of the fireplace preparing for class, I feel supported and valued by faculty, students, administrators, and parents. Seeing my students each day motivates me more than anything; I know that each class will be different and inspiring, and I am thankful that I get to do what I love every day.

What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? Perseverance. I recently hiked to Picacho Peak in New Mexico, which tested me physically, mentally, and emotionally! I almost quit halfway up. However, my husband and friends were with me, and with their support and a little grit, I made it to the top and was rewarded with amazing views and a real sense of accomplishment. Much of what our students experience in an academic setting is like climbing Picacho Peak, but the rewards are definitely worth the struggle.

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! I know how to tap dance and took lessons for 15 years; I still tap dance around the house when no one is looking. I also have four chickens, so we always have fresh eggs at home.

What is your favorite book and why? As a student and teacher of literature, this question is anxiety-inducing! However, I can tell you two books that have changed my life in  numerous ways: Moby-Dick by Herman Melville and 1984 by George Orwell. 1984 inspired me to study English literature in college, and Moby-Dick is almost a spiritual experience for me; each time I read it I notice something new, and it seems to tell me exactly what I need to hear at just the right time.

If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be? Paul McCartney, Jane Austin, and James Baldwin. Each of them fascinate me in different ways, but they're all phenomenal storytellers.

Posted by Julie A. Clardy in Upper School on Tuesday May 15
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Anneke Ossorio: Upper School Science Teacher

 

What motivated and inspired you to teach? My love for teaching started when I was a teenager and I was teaching kids how to do kinesthetic things such as swimming, soccer, or lacrosse. I realized that instruction gave me a licence to be creative and find different ways to help different kids understand how to do something in a way that made them feel good about themselves. Watching kids be successful at something they previously struggled with is the purest form of joy I have ever experienced. As I got older and realized I could make teaching a career, I had to think about what it was I wanted to teach. I have always loved science, so I ended up picking and majoring in chemistry. The real reason I chose to teach chemistry is because I struggled with it every day. Sometimes people think that because it was my major it must come naturally to me, and while parts of it do, my struggle with chemistry forced me to find creative solutions to my own problems and struggles. I now have the ability to take the same creative solutions and tricks I learned or came up with to help students understand a notoriously difficult subject. Watching students succeed at something as complicated as executing stoichiometry problems and getting excited about their own understanding of the atomic world around us is the most wonderful feeling in the world to me.

What makes you excited to come to school every day? Aside from my amazing coworkers, the kids at ESD are what make every day here something I look forward to. The genuinely understand how much effort and work I put into their learning and understanding of chemistry. ESD is a place that allows me to create a curriculum and a classroom environment that involves both teacher and student in learning. We work together to tackle difficult topics and they help make me a better teacher every day by letting me bounce alternative ideas and ways of doing things off of them. Having an involvement in their own learning keeps the kids engaged and excited about chemistry. Being able to come to a place like ESD everyday knowing that I am appreciated and that I have the ability to try new things, make adjustments, and have fun making mistakes is what makes me so excited to come to work every day, ready to tackle chemistry together.

What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? I really emphasize the art of making mistakes in my class. Learning how to deal with failure or messing up in a constructive way and understanding that to a degree its inevitable, so don't put so much pressure on yourself to be flawless all the time. On that same note I really try to encourage students to find their voice. Learning how to articulate what you need in order to be successful is a life long skill. Constructive communication with both adults and peers is an art that takes practice, recognition, and reflection.

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! I love kick boxing and running with my pup, Beasley! I enjoy watching college lacrosse, the NHL (Go AVS!), and the NFL. I also enjoy painting and crafting a variety of art projects. My daily therapy is cooking and baking, after all cooking and chemistry are the same thing, just don't lick the spoon in the lab!

What is your favorite book and why? My favorite all time book is The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss. It is just a timeless, comforting classic that will always have a place in my heart. My favorite "grown up book" is a little harder to pick. I kind of bounce from genre to genre so it is difficult when you have to compare Outlander to The Glass Castle to Romeo and Juliet to A Series of Unfortunate Events to 13 Reasons Why to The Hunger Games to The Great Gatsby to Outliers...

If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be? I would love to have dinner with my Lolo (grandpa). He passed away when I was in sixth grade and I would really like to know him as an adult. He was such a fascinating man that accomplished so much that I don't think I had a chance to really comprehend the value of his experiences when I was just a kid. He was a Monument's Man who rescued artwork from the Nazis in WWII and he also had a chemistry degree, just to name a few of the extraordinary things he did. I think he would be really proud to know his granddaughter has a chemistry degree too. I would also like to have dinner with Seth MacFarlane because I think he is hilarious but I also really appreciate the underlying (and somewhat overlooked) creativity in his works. Roger the alien is one of the greatest most creative, reckless, and versatile characters ever invented. The last person I would like to have dinner with would be Jane Goodall. She is my hero. I love anthropology and zoology (I am like the best person to take to the zoo) and I think I could just talk to her for hours about what an icon she is for women in science and her experiences, but also probably mostly about primates and other amazing animals.

Posted by in Upper School on Monday April 30 at 01:51PM
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Davis Felder '06: Assistant Director of Outdoor Education

 

What motivated and inspired you to teach? Teaching outdoor skills, specifically paddling, at camp was where it all started. I did it because it was fun and I got to go kayaking all the time. After expressing dislike of my job out of college, my Aunt on my Mom's side, Anne Chenoweth, suggested I look at teaching  in the classroom. It was because of her I explored moving from summer camp outdoor education to classroom teaching at schools in Dallas. I still do it because its fun!

What makes you excited to come to school every day? My job allows me to be outside basically every single day of the (school) year. I get to share the joy of simply being outside in a world where we are a little too connected, inside.

What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? Other than the ability to enjoy nature and disconnect from technology, I want students to have an opinion. If they really don't like something, I want them to express it - even if its nature!

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! My current hobby is trying to decrease the number of hobbies I have. I enjoy fishing, kayaking, sailing, working on and riding bicycles, golf, and soccer. I root for all the Dallas sports teams, and love watching the World Cup, Champions League, and Serie A - specifically A.C. Milan.

What is your favorite book and why? The Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons. I've been a fan of sci-fi literature, but the first book in the Cantos was an incredible experience. I plan to re-read it every decade. Red Rising by Pierce Brown is a close second!

If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be? I'm going to go with two. Kurt Vonnegut and my Grandmother. My Dad knew I enjoyed Vonnegut in my high school years, and always suggested I go visit him at his house in New York. He had an open door to anyone who wanted to meet him. I regret never doing that, so I'd have him over for dinner. My grandmother, was a huge influence on my life, and an amazing woman. I'd like her to meet my wife and catch up. Most importantly, we would be eating BBQ and fried chicken.

Posted by in Upper School, Middle School, Lower School on Tuesday April 24 at 01:56PM
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Laila Kharrat: Upper School French Teacher

 

What motivated and inspired you to teach? I had incredible teachers at Greenhill who motivated me to learn and inspired me to be curious about the world around me. After I studied abroad in Lyon, France, between freshman and sophomore years of college at UT Austin, I started private tutoring French and English for the UT Learning Center. This was the most gratifying work I had ever done. Using my natural talents with language and fueled by my passion for French and English, I was able to help others who struggled in these two academic areas. I was a substitute teacher for French and English at Greenhill for one year, followed by my Teaching Fellowship year in first grade. Then, ESD recruited me to grow the French program, and I have been here ever since!

What makes you excited to come to school every day? I am excited to work with young people and present them with "mirrors"and "windows" (mirrors onto themselves and windows onto the world). Teaching young people about the rich language, history, and culture of France as well as the Francophone (French-speaking) world brings me so much joy. I am passionate about education and, just as I am a lifelong learner, I hope to also be a lifelong teacher. In addition, I love working with the ESD community and with kind-hearted, warm, friendly faculty members and colleagues.

What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? I want my students to be inspired to always follow their hearts and passions, to do what makes them feel whole, like they are contributing in a meaningful way to the world around them. I want them to be global citizens who seek out new opportunities for learning and studying at home and abroad. I also want them to go for every opportunity life has to offer. If they want to learn something new, go for it- it's never too late to develop a skill or talent and to bring joy to your life in a variety of ways.

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! I enjoy fire-spinning (spinning fire or dancing with fire, which is a traditional Hawaiian ritual). I usually do this on a meaningful special occasion, like a close friend or family member's birthday. I learned how to spin fire by trading arts with a friend in Austin -- I taught her how to slam poetry and she taught me how to spin fire. Slam poetry was also a hobby of mine in college and I used to compete at local venues in Austin and open for other artists and performers. I love to do yoga and love drawing, especially geometric Arabic calligraphy. I have also been learning how to play violin for a few years and have recently started learning how to play the piano -- reading sheet music is like reading a new language! I enjoy the challenge and love to make music.

What is your favorite book and why? My favorite book is Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins because of his unique sense of humor and his ability to weave together seemingly opposite characters. This book made me laugh at loud over and over again and has always been one of my favorite books.

If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be? I would have dinner with Kurt Cobain because his music (Nirvana) was very formative for me, and I would love to pick his brain about his deep and powerful lyrics and the stories behind his songs. I would have dinner with Hanan Ashrawi because of her role in the Middle East peace process, specifically to talk about how to bring people together for lasting and unified world peace. I would have dinner with Vincent Van Gogh and talk about his Post-Impressionist paintings and artwork, especially about what it was like to live as an artist in the late 1800s.

Posted by in Upper School on Tuesday April 17
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Choose groups to clone to:

Lower School

4344 Colgate Avenue
Dallas, Texas, 75225
214-353-5818

Middle & Upper School

4100 Merrell Road
Dallas, Texas, 75229
214-358-4368

Wolf Run Ranch

located near Anna, Texas

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