Friday, June 6, 2014

Staff Spotlight: Heather W

A teacher for several years at TLS, we are excited to announce that Heather will be stepping into the role of the Hillsborough infant mentor teacher in July. Similar to the reggio “pedagogista”, TLS has created the role of a mentor teacher. With our ongoing efforts to live the little in The Little School, we discovered that we could thrive just that much more with this role. Like the name suggests, they are there to work with the teachers, help them brain storm ideas, trouble shoot sticky patches, and be another set of eyes, ears and big brains in your building. We are hoping they will be a quick access point for teachers and parents alike. We are thrilled to see this dream in action. Heather was chosen for the role of mentor because she lives her belief in the competencies of infants,  and recognizes the powerful chance we get to be an advocate for our smallest students. She treats infants with respect of a fellow colleague, and expects to learn from them everyday. Most importantly, Heather is never one to take herself too seriously, and is always up for a new challenge. We are excited to see our infant program grow under her care. We asked Heather to tell us more: 

How did you find your way to TLS?
The school I had been at for 5 years was being absorbed by a large chain...I couldn't imagine myself in a corporate daycare setting, and so I began the search for a school that reflected my personal educational philosophies.  I was drawn to The Little School's website right away.  Children playing outside, getting messy, and teachers down on the child's level exploring alongside the children were the images that spoke to me.

What do you value or hold most dear at TLS?
The five big ideas are such a strong foundation and I really appreciate how much they are woven into the school's philosophy.  Our school leaders take professional development seriously, and seem to always be asking how we can improve or more fully embody the school values. This is an environment for lifelong learning, and growing for teachers and students.

What is the most interesting trip you have taken?
I took a week long trip around Ireland when I was in my 20's. My friend and I didn't have an itinerary. We just picked up a car in Shannon, and drove along the coast to Dublin.  We made new friends, drank a daily pint of Guinness, and visited historical sites.  Everything was so vividly green, and there were ancient ruins and sheep everywhere!

What movie or work of fiction has had the biggest impact on you? Why?
My favorite movie of all time is Rebecca by Alfred Hitchcock starring Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier.  It is so beautiful and dreamy.  The plot is full of twists and turns, and the story is full of mystery, but I think the biggest reason it sticks with me is the main character begins as a naive and foolish girl, but in the end she is much stronger and resilient than she thought.

If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
I would want the powers of that girl from the tv show in the 90's "Out of this World"  She could freeze and unfreeze time.  I always feel like I need just a little more time, and that would seem like a great way to do it.  Totally selfish reason to have a superpower, but I am sure I would eventually do some good with it...just as soon as I can finish some books I've been meaning to read...

What is something about you that people might not know?
I trained with the Carolina Rollergirls for a while...until I was injured (torn ligaments in my knee, broken arm, frozen shoulder) I also am a certified instructor for Derby Lite, a super cool derby inspired exercise program which got put on hold when I found out I was if I only had some free time...

What is your favorite children's book?
I love reading Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise to infants and toddlers.  They love the rhyming meter, and the pictures of animals, and for some reason I can read it 50 times in one seating and not get sick of it.  For slightly older children, the Madeleine books are great.  I love that little brave, mischievous girl who believes in doing what's right, even if it means getting into trouble.  Wildwood by Colin Melloy is amazing too.  It's one of those books that you read as an adult and think...I would have LOVED this book as a child!

What would you listen to if you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life?'s been covered by many different artists, including Billie Holliday and one of my favorite bands, "Friends of Dean Martinez". I don't really like winter or cold weather, so it's the perfect song to listen to when celebrating the return of warm weather.

If you could do any other job in the world, what would it be?
I would want to be a traveling food writer.  Like Anthony Bourdain, but nicer and without all of the smoking.

What words do you live by?
So it goes...Good or bad life goes on. We need to take time to appreciate the important things in life like family, good friends, good food, and the beauty in nature.

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