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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! 

Angela O'Brien: Early Childhood Spanish Teacher

What motivated and inspired you to teach? 
People can teach the simplest thing, how to make your bed, or the most complex one, how to drive. But certainly just a few people know how to enthrall and inspire others and being able to witness a child grasp a concept for the very first time is the best feeling in the world. My motivation is rewarding when I am able to help a student to reach with clarity their learning process. With that, being able to add self-confidence and independent growth is definitely a life-changing for them, and of course for myself.

Why are you excited to come to ESD every day? 
Every day I have the best day at ESD. I love to come and embrace myself in such a warm community of faculty and students. Life is about experiences, feelings, and memories, and I am very fortunate to be able to be in a space that recognizes them and appreciates them. This is my first year at ESD and since day one I felt how everyone greets me with great attitude and enthusiasm.

Beyond your subject-area or discipline, what life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? 
I would like my students to leave my classroom learning respect for others above everything else and learn this golden rule to apply it in their day to day life. I would also like for them to be able to embrace changes and regard it as an adventure. And of course, taking every day as a learning opportunity to explore and enrich their lives by enjoying each little thing they can.

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! 
I am the biggest fan of the World Cup! I waited very patiently for four years to enjoy the World Cup last summer - it was great! What I like the most is that I get to know more about another culture. Everyone is happy, and, even cheering for different teams, it feels like just one community around the world.

What is your favorite book and why? 
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I’ve read this book multiple times in my life, and it always opens my eyes to something new every time I read the story. I consider myself the fox that teaches little students to be kind, honest, and real in life. I am a believer that when you do things with your heart, and with the best intention, it is the best way to expose yourself in the everyday world.

If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be and why? 
I would go to dinner with my fifth-grade history teacher Irma Ortiz. I would love to tell her about my journey being a teacher and how she impacted my life with her confidence when I expressed to her that I was interested in becoming one. Michael, my best friend who always had the right word in the most difficult circumstances, and the biggest laugh! And finally, I would ask Princess Diana: What is the lesson of life that you have taught your children?

Posted by Katie Voss in Lower School on Tuesday October 30
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Amber Stautzenberger: Early Childhood Art Teacher

What motivated and inspired you to teach? My high school art teacher, my own passion for creating, and interest in various cultures are what inspired me to study fine arts. I love sharing my knowledge of art elements, art history, and the plethora of cultures involved to strengthen creativity, critical thinking, global competency, confidence, and motor skills.

What makes you excited to come to school every day? Teaching for the early childhood program here at ESD is a new experience daily. Watching children become wide-eyed with amazement when discovering blue mixed with red makes purple, or finding out the can create a sculpture from clay is consistently a heartwarming reward.

What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? It's not always about the final goal, but about the journey along the way. Learning from hardships is what helps to build character.

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! I am a Mixed Martial Artist with 10 professional fights and hold a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Currently, I'm taking a break to focus on my family and teaching.

Posted by Katie Voss in Lower School on Tuesday October 9 at 03:40PM
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Chelsea Pemberton: Early Childhood Librarian

 

What motivated and inspired you to teach? I have always loved the excitement and discovery in a school environment. What better way to experience that every day than to become a teacher?

What makes you excited to come to school every day? In the library, I have the absolute joy of seeing a wide range of students grow in their discovery of literature, stories, information, and knowledge every single day. I believe so strongly that we are all made up of collections of stories and helping children learn to share those stories and experience the stories of others who may or may not be just like them is what being a human is all about.

What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? I hope my students enter and exit the library with a renewed sense of wonder that continues throughout their lives as learners. Wonder is about a sense of magic, which we could all use a little more of, but we could also use a little bit more of the ability to question and find out more.

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! This may not be terribly surprising, but I do love musical theatre and in my younger days performed in a number of school and local shows. Nowadays I tend to perform mostly in my car on the way to and from school.

What is your favorite book and why? Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery has always been my absolute favorite. Anne is very much my kindred spirit and I delight in every re-reading of this story and its sequels each year.

If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be? I would have dinner with my grandmother, the great storyteller of our family and someone I feel with my every day even though she is gone. The second person would be my first grade teacher who I have kept in touch with throughout my life and who always gives me good advice and encouragement. My third person would be Lin Manuel Miranda because he is a genius and if I'm having dinner with him, then maybe, just maybe I can get my hands on some Hamilton tickets!

Posted by Julie A. Clardy in Lower School on Tuesday September 11
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Becca Bryan: Elementary Music Teacher and Fourth Grade Singers Director


What makes you excited to come to school every day? I get to directly inspire creativity in a highly energetic field, music.

What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? Beyond musicianship, I want my students to know that struggle and risk-taking are positive, life-giving experiences that lead to learning.

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! Outside of school, Mr. Bryan (Upper School English and Sophomore Dean) and I love rocking out on our guitars in our home.

What is your favorite book and why? My favorite book series is The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.

If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be? If I chose three people to dine with, I would choose revolutionaries and poets or musicians and our passionate conversations would change the world: Beethoven, The Apostle Peter, and Joan of Arc.

Posted by Julie A. Clardy in Lower School on Monday September 3
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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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Martha Bowden: Lower School Technology Teacher

 

What motivated and inspired you to teach? My father always told me I would make an excellent teacher because I am able see all sides of a problem and work tirelessly toward a solution. My teachers supported his assessment and encouraged me along this path. I love the challenge of figuring out how to present a concept that best fits each student's learning style.

What makes you excited to come to school every day? I do not recall a day at Lower School that was not filled with laughter and joy. Who wouldn't be excited to come here every day?

What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? As students learn how to use the technologies we have available today, I encourage them to grapple with whether or not today's technologies could be developed in new, more effective ways. As the digital age blossoms from these early stages our students will be at the forefront of leading the next phase of development. Hopefully, our lessons of virtues, honor code, and digital citizenship will shine brightly through these technological advances.

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! I grew up working on our family farm every weekend, so I love gardening and spending time outdoors.

What is your favorite book and why? I love the Harry Potter series, especially sharing favorite passages with new groups of students as they begin the exploring the magical world of Hogwarts themselves as their reading skills develop. When the play version was released in 2015, my adult sons wanted me to come with them to the midnight release party to re-live the experience. We made six of the seven midnight release parties when the books were originally published.

If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be? I would cherish the opportunity to dine with my parents and introduce them to their grandsons giving our boys the opportunity to meet their grandparents. So many stories to share, the evening would never end.

Posted by in Lower School on Tuesday April 17
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Rhonda Bier: Fourth-Grade Teacher

 

What motivated and inspired you to teach? I have wanted to be a teacher since I was a little girl.  In high school I had the opportunity to work in an elementary classroom weekly, and it was during this time that I grew to love the moment of watching a child's face light up as a new discovery is made. I am in my fifteenth year of teaching, and that is still the best part of teaching.  My goal as a teacher is to create a love of learning in a way that will spark curiosity in a child and lead to continued moments of wonder.

What makes you excited to come to school every day? I love my community at ESD.  I feel honored to work with such incredibly talented teachers that inspire me daily.  The faculty and staff of our school are devoted to our students in a way that I have never experienced.  I find myself challenged to grow professionally to better serve my students and provide the best possible learning opportunities for each child.

What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? My hope is that I model a sense of risk taking for children that allows for both success and setbacks because we learn from both.

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! I have done calligraphy professionally and love hand lettering in all formats. There is something about the design aspect that I love. When I look at a logo or phrase displayed I tend to zoom in on the font used or how the letters are laid out.

What is your favorite book and why? Matilda by Roald Dahl - yes, book for children is my favorite! Dahl took complex subjects and wrote a book that captures the innocence of childhood while creating a spark of compassion for characters within the story. It's a wonderful book even for adults!

If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be? 1. Julia Child to give us a cooking lesson 2. Kacey Musgraves so we could write a song together 3. Lin Manuel Miranda to perform our song better than any of us could

Posted by in Lower School on Tuesday April 10
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Sarah Ward: Kindergarten Teacher

 

What motivated and inspired you to teach? I always knew I wanted to teach. As a child I played school with my stuffed animals until my younger sister was old enough to handle the demands of my pretend classroom. One summer she went off to camp and I mailed her "homework" to complete.

What makes you excited to come to school every day? There are so many reasons. For my students and the joy they bring into my life daily, for my fellow teachers who have become very close friends, and for the amazing family community at ESD. ESD is truly a special place.

What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? Kindness. I hope my students leave knowing the importance of treating others with respect and that a little kindness goes a long way. Beyond that I hope they know that they are loved.

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! I love to run; my husband and I have traveled all over the U.S. to run half marathons. I also adore my two golden retrievers, Nike and Argo, and cheering for all TCU sports teams. Go Frogs!

What is your favorite book and why? Recently I have fallen in love with the children's book Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima. It is a precious story about fitting in, standing out, and the love of a family.

Posted by in Lower School on Tuesday March 27 at 03:07PM
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Courtney Phelps: Director of Community Service Learning

 

What motivated and inspired you to teach? I was a Volunteer Coordinator for a nonprofit for a few years and during that time I was able to connect people to a specific cause. However, I didn't want to just stop at one cause. I wanted to inspire the next generation to take on the number of issues that plague our communities and beyond.

What makes you excited to come to school every day? The students are always eager to serve. Their passion and selflessness is inspiring. Each student has a unique perspective to bring to any situation and it is fun to see them get creative. The staff are amazing and so supportive especially in these first few months as a new member of the ESD community.

What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? Although I don't have a conventional classroom, I pray that all of our students learn that regardless of their career choices, they have the potential to be civic leaders.

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! I don't have a favorite team, but I LOVE college football...especially rivalry games. My mom took stats for a college football team most of my life so I feel I was born and raised on the 50 yard line. My husband and I are super competitive with each other. We have cooking competitions all the time because we love trying new recipes. To this day, I still cannot beat his shrimp and grits.

What is your favorite book and why? A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon. I read this book to a student I tutored a few years ago. I absolutely loved the message. You compromise who you are when you worry about what other's think of you and refuse to be yourself. Don't try to change who you are for the likes of others...be uniquely you!

If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be? I would love to have dinner with my maternal grandmother. She passed before I was born, but I have her name and my entire family says I have her spirit. I would bring my mother and my baby sister too because my mom always says she wishes we could have met her.

Posted by in Upper School, Middle School, Lower School on Tuesday March 20 at 03:24PM
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Monica Awbrey: Lower School Music Teacher

 

What motivated and inspired you to teach? I am passionate about sharing what I love with others. Music is sometimes more powerful than words, touching people deeply. Teaching others to express themselves with music is my motivation and my inspiration.

What makes you excited to come to school every day? There is joy for learning all around me. Bright eyes shining with curiosity greet me at the door. Colleagues who continuously challenge themselves and others to grow energize our school and I love being a part of that.

What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? I have some simple values that guide our classroom culture. Be kind. Listen. Be helpful to others. These basic tenets of respect can pave the way to building relationships with others. Looking out for everyone will help our students make a difference in the world.

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! I love to travel. Growing up, I lived in seven different countries. When I get free time, I can't wait to explore new adventures with my family.

What is your favorite book and why? It is really hard to choose a favorite book because I love to read and I am always looking for something new to dive into.  Right now, I am reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. The novel explores the women's side of the war, showing the heartbreak and resilience of the human spirit during this difficult time.  The strength of building relationships is present and powerful in this book.

If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be? I would love to have dinner with Lin Manuel Miranda, who wrote the musical, "Hamilton." I would invite Alexander and Eliza Hamilton and I would love to hear what they think of the musical and how their story is told. I wonder if they could even imagine that we would be telling their story in our modern style and time.

Posted by in Lower School on Tuesday March 6
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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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