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

Episcopal School of Dallas

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

TEACHER TUESDAY BLOG

"The ESD teachers are so welcoming and open to helping you. They want you to succeed."
- a member of the Class of 2017

Check back each week for a new post! 

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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Jerone Mitchell: Upper School Computer Science Teacher

 

What motivated and inspired you to teach? I can honestly say that I always wanted to be a teacher. As a senior in high school preparing for college I brainstormed which careers I could see myself enjoying; career, in this context, was "something I could do for five or more years." The four careers I came up with were software engineer, professional wrestler, classroom educator, and hip-hop producer. Classroom teaching stuck.

What makes you excited to come to school every day? I'm excited to work with students every day. Education lasts as a career if you enjoy working with students; you will find another career if you do not. My students constantly challenge my knowledge and thought based on current, real-life issues: net neutrality, gender gaps in technology, cryptocurrencies, "Big Data" security issues. Education is something of a two-way street, and I love that.

What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? The student with the natural talent is seldom becomes the best; the student that has the best work ethic will typically achieve the most success. As a corollary, you have to make mistakes in order to learn; most people that try to avoid the mistakes also avoid the learning. I consider it a success if a student "completes" a project and then goes back to immediately correct his or her mistakes; the first time you do ANYTHING of note you will make mistakes, so we need to prepare you to deal with them.

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! I am a life-long professional wrestling fan. Growing up, my favorites included Junkyard Dog, Dusty Rhodes (this concludes the "dating myself" portion of the response), Shawn Michaels, The Rock, and CM Punk; I'm more a fan of the Women's Division currently, with Asuka, Ember Moon, Alexa Bliss, and Sasha Banks among my favorites.

What is your favorite book and why? It is hard to choose between Have a Nice Day - A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks by Mick Foley, or The Art of War by Sun Tzu. Whereas I most enjoy the former - an excellent tale about achieving success as a professional wrestler despite being the polar opposite of what someone expects physically in a professional wrestler - the latter taught life lessons needed to navigate the world while maintaining my own sense of morality. 

If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be? I got it down to four, but couldn't eliminate someone: Jesus, Malcolm X, Richard Pryor, and Prince. These four were probably the most influential growing up in terms of developing my sense of morality, communication style, leadership style and expectations, my ideas of individual success, etc.. I would LOVE to hear how these four men would examine the world today.

Posted by in Upper School on Tuesday March 27 at 03:01PM
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Bill Cook: Middle School English Teacher

 

What motivated and inspired you to teach? My fifth-grade and, then, again, seventh-grade teacher, J.J. Connolly, inspired me along with a few thousand others at St. Marks. Caustic witticisms and a warm regard that shoots straight to the students’ souls was his calling card, and I stole as much from him as I could remember.

What makes you excited to come to school every day? I can’t remember a day in my 35 years of teaching that I haven't entered school full of excitement about the new day, and I can’t remember a day that a kid’s excitement didn’t rub off on me.

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! I’ve been known to be a car guy but maybe not as well known to be a movie guy.  Watching older movies is a favorite passion, and since all of the cast and crew of "Witness for the Prosecution" are long gone, I have anointed myself as its greatest authority.

What is your favorite book and why? When I was the age of the students I now teach, the mystery of Beau Geste captured me, but it’s the novel’s gallant gesture that has endured these many years.

If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be? Will Rogers, the Dalai Lama, and Bugs Bunny.

Posted by in Middle School on Tuesday March 20 at 04:05PM
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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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Angela Fritsen: Upper School Latin Teacher

 

What motivated and inspired you to teach? I loved Latin, and I loved my years of high school (I was an academic nerd). When I lived for a semester in Rome as a college sophomore and saw all the layers of civilization-- ancient ruins, medieval churches, and Renaissance buildings all jostled together-- I became hooked on Roman culture and its influence.

What makes you excited to come to school every day? The vibrancy of youth restores my faith in everything that is good about life. I count my blessings. And I admire my faculty and staff colleagues, and I feel supported by them.

What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? Patience and kindness.

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! My father belongs to generations of bell founders; he emigrated to the Unites States to advance sales in this country. The bell in the tower between the school building and Wellness Center is a Fritsen bell (and that is just a small one).

What is your favorite book and why? Lost in A Good Book by Jasper Fforde. It is an "alternative history fantasy novel." The title says it all.

Posted by in Upper School on Tuesday March 6
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Lauren Redmond '01: Tech Theater Director

 

What motivated and inspired you to teach? I’ve worked professionally in the arts all of my adult life, in opera, ballet, and regional theaters across the country. While I was good at it and enjoyed it, it was when I was working with my apprentices and interns that I really knew I enjoyed teaching and wanted to make the switch in careers. I wanted to be able to teach students everything I had learned and get them as interested in the arts as I was.

What makes you excited to come to school every day? As an alum, I enjoy coming to the place where I went to school and have such fond memories. Granted, there are a lot more buildings than when I was a student, but the campus still feels the same to me. It’s my home away from home.

What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? Not everything has to be perfect and I’m not looking for perfection when I work with students. I expect you to be putting forth your best effort every time. I’m looking for you to succeed to the best of your abilities. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to push you further than you think you can go. That’s how you grow as a person and an artist.

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! I run road races and play softball. I’ve completed over 50 races (3 marathons, over 25 half marathons and numerous 5K and 10K). I’ve also been a part of a few coed-softball teams where we have won 5 league championships and 2 tournament championships.

If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be? I would love to have dinner with Lauren Bacall and Katharine Hepburn. My parents named me after them so it’s fitting I went into the arts. I think they were amazing actresses and I would love to hear their stories directly from them. I would also love to have dinner with Julia Child. That woman loved to eat and cook, and so do I!

Posted by englande in Upper School on Tuesday February 27
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Glen Dawson: Dance Instructor

 

What motivated and inspired you to teach? I'm inspired by the joy I feel when watching students learn skills, use creative thoughts, and develop identity and self-esteem.

What makes you excited to come to school every day? The students, faculty, and environment. I love having the ability to teach what I know and have the freedom to be creative.

What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? I want my dancers to learn independence, integrity, and the importance of community and self-motivation.

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! I work in the wine industry. I have picked grapes and worked in the tank room, helped make wine, teach wine classes, and worked with Robert Mondavi and Kendall Jackson.

What is your favorite book and why? Anything by Jane Austen. I love the spirit of her novels and the time period.

If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be? Lady Godiva, Audrey Hepburn, and Jesus.

Posted by englande in Upper School, Middle School on Tuesday February 27
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Allison Darnell: Middle School Math Teacher

 

What motivated and inspired you to teach? I joined Teach for America after college and taught for two years at an inner city charter school in Bedford Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, New York. I grew up in Dallas and attended Ursuline, so teaching in the projects was definitely an eye-opening experience. It was through those experiences that I realized that I love teaching. Helping students learn new ways to solve math problems and teaching them different ways to think is what motivates me.

What makes you excited to come to school every day? The joy on the students' faces and the interactions with my co-workers makes me excited to come to ESD. There is a special community here. I am excited to make learning fun, make math exciting, and help the students' minds grow by teaching them new ways to think. One thing that I really appreciate is ESD's focus on whole-child development.

What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? You are going to have set backs throughout your life, but it is important to stay true to yourself and to not give up!

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! I have still have my horse that I competed with throughout high school and college. Shadow is his name and I got him at the start of my eighth-grade year in August 2000.

What is your favorite book and why? I love the book, Wonder. It is an easy read, yet full of life lessons - kindness, perseverance, stay true to yourself, and getting to know people for who they really are.

If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be? My Grandma who passed away in December 2015 - I have so many fond memories of her and would love to have one last laugh with her. Grandma made everything fun! Princess Kate Middleton - I love following the Royal Family.  I follow them through their multiple accounts on social media. I would love to be able to talk to Kate and how her life changed from being a "normal" person to marrying into the Royal Family. Ben Franklin - He had so many great inventions. What would he think of our world today?

Posted by englande in Middle School on Monday February 19
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Wendy Kenneybrew: Lower School Art Teacher

 

What motivated and inspired you to teach? Making a difference in each child's life motivates and inspires me to teach.

What makes you excited to come to school every day? To work with each student and to watch the children learn and grow is why I like to come to ESD every day.

What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? To treat others the way you would want to be treated.

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! I like music and will be taking guitar lessons. I enjoy singing karaoke, taking pictures, and spending time with my two grandchildren.

What is your favorite book and why? I like reading spiritual books and one of my favorite authors is Joel Olsteen.

If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be? I would have dinner with my Grandfather because he was my hero. I would also include my Great Great Grandmother because she told me a lot about my family history. Finally, I would invite Joel Olsteen because he inspires me.

Posted by englande in Lower School on Monday February 19
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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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