A: It’s hard to believe that I came to Ensworth almost six years ago now, as a fitness instructor and coach. I had worked in non-profit Social Work and was itching for a change. Ironically, growing up, I swore that I would never be a teacher…ha! I come from a long line of educators, so, I guess “never say never” was pretty true in my case. Since coming to EHS, I have transitioned from fitness to the classroom and now teach 9th and 10th grade Seminar. Seminar is a course that encourages critical thinking, listening, empathy, scholarship, confidence, cultural awareness, and collaboration, through a myriad of socially relevant topics. I love it. Every day, every class, every student is different. It keeps me fresh and continually evolving as a person and educator.
Q: You have been very involved in the Summer Peru Trip. Tell us a little bit about what that trip looks like and one of the biggest lessons that you and the students bring back when they leave.
A: Ah yes, Peru. The land of color. What a beautiful place with such rich traditions. It was a tremendous blessing to spend two weeks there last summer and take it all in. The people are deeply rooted in the earth and have such a calm, peaceful way about them. I believe that cultural immersion is the heart of the trip. We all stay with local families, which is a wonderful way to truly learn about people. We eat with them, sleep in their beds, wake with the roosters and breathe the same air. It’s incredible. Lessons? First and foremost, there’s a great big world out there, so see it, soak it up and let it shape you. Don’t let fear keep you from learning a new language or trying a new food, even if it’s guinea pig : ). Also, be an observer, try to connect and thoughtfully consider how we might help one another in this life, while always upholding modesty, humility and respect for cultural distinctions. We have so much to teach one another.
Q: I know that one of your loves is photography. Tell us how you started doing that. What are your favorite things to shoot? Are you able to integrate that into your day job?
A: Yes, photography…it’s a bit of a new love, so it still gives me butterflies and I, by no means, have it figured out. I still don’t really consider myself a photographer. Just an explorer…no formal training but sort of just picked up a camera a couple of years back. I’ve grown to love shooting people the most. I love storytelling through pictures or, challenging the viewer to consider something more deeply, even if it causes a bit of internal friction. When I was a kid, I used to look at National Geographic religiously, and my grandfather was a photographer, so I sat through many a post dinner slide show of his adventures to Colombia, Switzerland, Hong Kong, etc. My mother is a painter, so I guess the creative gene sort of seeped its way into my DNA. I haven’t explored painting too much yet, but I hope to someday. Although I don’t really bring the camera into my day job, I am continually challenged to creatively approach my subject and my students, who to me, are much more enigmatic and interesting than my photographs.
Q: What is one of your favorite memories from Ensworth?
Q: What is something that the Ensworth community would be surprised to know about you?
A: Not sure. I’m a pretty private person, so maybe that when I was a kid, I was quite the stage hound starring in musical productions and plays. I dreamt of being a professional singer/actress or a missionary in a foreign land…guess I’ve always been sort of a walking paradox.
Q: Who is the next faculty member from the Red Gables campus you would like to see featured?
A: Hmmm…Jason Maxwell…tag, you’re it.