Teacher-Student Initiative Cohort 2022-2023
We are proud to welcome the 2022-2023 Teacher-Student Initiative Cohort, which consists of a group of amazing educators who are committed to globalizing their classrooms. Although each teacher is located in different parts of North Carolina, it is our goal at World View to establish a sense of community. It is a community where participants can exchange resources, collaborate, and ask questions while learning more about globalizing their classrooms.
Jessica Burch has been teaching for eleven years, with ten of them at Swansboro High School. She has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and secondary education, has obtained National Board Certification in 2021, and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in science education. She is currently teaching AP Chemistry, Chemistry, and Physical Science. Mrs. Burch enjoys teaching chemistry to high school students to help guide them through the difficult course in hopes they grow to enjoy the subject. In her spare time Mrs. Burch enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, teaching dance classes, dancing, and advising Swansboro’s Student Council and Interact Club.
Elizabeth Calderón is an Instructor of Spanish at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. She is a native speaker of Spanish and was born in the Dominican Republic. During her time as an educator, Elizabeth has taught in public and private schools, as well as the higher education sector. In addition, Elizabeth has published her work in the magazine El Cid, an undergraduate academic journal published by The Citadel in South Carolina. Some of her other published work include the short story “Los cascos negros” (“The Black Helmets”) and a research essay entitled “La subordinación de los indígenas y la mujer” (“The Subordination of the Indigenous and the Woman”) en el “Borrador de un informe” de (“The Draft of a Report” by) Augusto Roa Bastos. Elizabeth holds a bachelor’s degree in secondary education and Spanish from Monmouth University and a master’s degree in Spanish literature and language from the City College of New York.
Christy J. Hall is in her nineteenth year as an educator in North Carolina. She graduated from Salem College in Winston-Salem with two bachelor of arts degrees in mathematics and biology. Upon graduation, she went into the workforce as a laboratory specialist with Tyson Foods, Inc. After six years, Christy realized that she longed to be in education, and she returned to school through Appalachian State University. It was while at ASU that she earned her teacher certification. She is certified to teach middle school math and science, as well as high school math and science. Christy has taught in Wilkes and Alexander County Schools, Newton-Conover City Schools, and Iredell-Statesville Schools She is currently teaching honors biology and honors chemistry at Alexander Early College High School in Taylorsville where she has been since its foundation six years ago.
Anna (Kate) Holt is in her seventh year teaching in Onslow County Schools. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from UNC Wilmington. She is currently teaching World History, American History, and Honors American History courses at White Oak High School in Jacksonville, NC. Global integration and cross-curricular activities are important aspects of her history classroom. In the fall of 2021 and again in 2022, Ms. Holt led students in a collaborative project with students in Marrakech Morocco, where students worked together to create products centered on the United Nations Sustainability Goals. In the spring of 2022, she participated in the UNC World View Teacher-Student Initiative on freshwater sustainability and conservation. Students studied global water-related issues, learned how to conserve water in their own lives, and made water droplets for a bulletin board that featured information on access to fresh water and how to conserve. Outside of school, she enjoys traveling, being outdoors, and creating art.
Leslie Hooper was born and raised in Surry County, NC. Leslie is in her twentieth year of public education and is currently teaching biology, chemistry, and physical science at her alma mater, Elkin High School. She received a bachelor of science in ecology and environmental biology from Appalachian State University (2001), National Board Certification in adolescent and young adult science education (2011), and a master of arts in educational leadership from the American College of Education (2012). Leslie is passionate about teaching and learning and desires to provide students with authentic experiential learning opportunities. Outside of school, Leslie enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, kayaking, reading, and traveling!
Philia Leach has been teaching mathematics in North Carolina since 2003. She earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Livingstone College and a master of education in curriculum and instruction, middle grades mathematics from UNC Greensboro. At her current school, Ben L. Smith High, Philia is an Expanded Impact Teacher (EIT), which gives her the opportunity to build relationships, make connections, and grow more students. In her free time, she enjoys playing tennis and spending time with her family.
Stephanie McGirt has been at SandHoke Early College HS for five years. There, she instructs the English II Honors and English III Honors courses for sophomores, while ensuring the integration of powerful world literature and real-world issues. She has been teaching for Hoke County Schools since 2003. Her teaching experience also includes fifteen years at the middle grades level focusing on improving reading skills while introducing students to great literature. Stephanie earned her Bachelor of Arts in English and Secondary Education in Iowa. After time spent serving in the United States Army, she landed in Hoke County to begin a teaching career. From there, she went on to earn the license to work with academically and intellectually gifted children through UNC Pembroke. Finally, with the desire to teach all students, Dr. McGirt earned her doctorate of education in August 2017. Her love of real-world learning is what drove her to apply to this initiative!
Korey Mitchell Korey Mitchell is currently an art teacher at White Oak High School in Jacksonville, NC. She has taught at Southwest Middle School in Jacksonville for the past three years. Korey is also the yearbook advisor and a volleyball coach. She has more than twenty-one years of teaching experience at all levels within the public school system. Korey earned her master’s degree in art education from Mansfield University in PA. Korey and her husband moved to Jacksonville from upstate NY three years ago. They are loving NC and all that comes with it.
A native of western North Carolina, Stephanie Morgan has spent her fifteen years in teaching at Pisgah High School in Canton, NC, where she has long taught math but is now getting the opportunity to teach an English section, as well. Stephanie earned her bachelor’s degree in mathematics and master of arts in teaching from UNC-Chapel Hill and an education specialist degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Virginia. She loves to travel and has taken part in educator study tours to China; the United Arab Emirates; Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Sweden, Russia; and Belgium and Luxembourg. Outside of school and teaching, Stephanie enjoys bicycling and crafting.
Kelly Ottaway has enjoyed learning about many forms of the arts from the Onslow County School System and now teaches ceramics and beginning-level visual arts courses at Jacksonville High School in Jacksonville, NC. Kelly taught at the elementary level for several years at Southwest Elementary before taking the leap to teach the arts at the school from which she graduated. She has taught at Jacksonville High School for the last five years. Kelly graduated from East Carolina University with a bachelor of fine arts in art metal design and a minor in art history. She had the opportunity to obtain her North Carolina license through the Project Act cohort here in Onslow County in connection with East Carolina University. Outside of school, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, leading her church choir, and creating art. Kelly is looking forward to sharing what she learns throughout this experience with her students and to further inspire them to make new choices and reach beyond what they thought was possible.
Helen (Micki) Powell has been teaching in North Carolina for over twenty-eight years. Micki, as she is known, teaches science at Person Early College for Innovation & Leadership. Micki is originally from New Jersey but earned her bachelor of science degree in chemistry from Pfeiffer University and her Master of Arts in Education in Instructional Technology from East Carolina University. As a lifelong learner, she enjoys bringing new ideas, techniques, and strategies to the classroom.
Maria Cecilia Rogers is a Spanish teacher and native of Uruguay, South America. She has been teaching at Onslow County Schools since 2016 and, since 2019, teaching Spanish II, III and IV. In 2018, Maria become a Spanish instructor for the military at MARSOC, and, in 2013 for Special Operation Command online platform SOFTS. In 2015, Maria earned a master of arts in teaching Spanish as a second language and a master of applied linguistics in the teaching of Spanish as a foreign language. With over twenty years of experience in education, Maria defines herself as an enthusiastic, inspired, and passionate educator who firmly believes that all students can learn and thrive in an environment that is challenging and secure.
Joanna Sayblack is a native of Winterville in eastern North Carolina and is currently in her twenty-first year of teaching. She attended UNC-Chapel Hill and East Carolina University where she received her bachelor of arts in political science with a minor in international studies in 2000. In 2003, she continued her studies at East Carolina University and achieved a bachelor of science in Hispanic studies education. Joanna spent most of her teaching career in Martin County where she taught Spanish I and II, as well as World History at both the middle and high school levels. In 2019, Joanna moved westward to become a resident of Haywood County and to teach at Pisgah High School in Canton, North Carolina. There, she has taught Spanish I, II, and III. In her free time, Joanna enjoys spending time with her husband and son in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina and traveling abroad as much as possible.
Consuelo Schwartz has been teaching Spanish in NC public schools since 1998. Currently, she teaches Spanish at Innovation Early College and Pitt County Schools Early College High School. She has a bachelor’s degree in modern languages, a master’s degree in teaching Spanish and she is a National Board Certified Teacher. In 2020, she earned her NC Global Educator Digital Badge. She enjoys teaching the language and cultures of Spanish-speaking countries. She enjoys photography and traveling, having visited sixteen countries and having lived in five countries.
Jennifer Slusser graduated from International High School Bangkok, earned a bachelor’s degree in European history and British literature at Western Carolina University, a master’s degree in medieval history at the University of Toronto, and a dual license from East Carolina University. She started teaching World Literature and British Literature at Enloe Magnet High School in 2001 and earned her National Board Certification in ELA. For the past seven years, however, she has been teaching AP World History and more recently IB Theory of Knowledge. She loves teaching subjects that are inherently diverse to a diverse student body, and she travels with her husband and two children every chance she gets!
Amelia Simpson is in her tenth year at SandHoke Early College High School. There, she teaches English II Honors, English III Honors, and Economics and Personal Finance Honors courses. Amelia earned her bachelor of arts in English education from UNC Pembroke. She is currently working to complete a master’s degree in English education, also from UNC Pembroke. A lifelong learner, she enjoys making coursework relevant to students and incorporating multiple perspectives, including international perspectives, into her content.
Tonya Smith has been a member of the NC School of Science and Mathematics Department of Humanities since 2008. Tonya teaches Spanish, African Studies, and NCSSM’s Modern North Africa and the Middle East course. This academic year, she is also serving as Interim Chair of Humanities. As a recent “NCSSM Keeper of the Dream” award winner, Tonya has served the NCSSM community in many capacities—in the residential program, in the Department of Admissions, and in academic programs through the Department of Humanities. She served as a facilitator and coordinator of the world languages discipline for several years. In 2020-2021, Tonya spearheaded the Humanities-sponsored, school-wide event, “Building Coalitions for Positive Change,” which featured Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and former President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. This year, Tonya is excited to participate in UNC World View’s Teacher-Student Initiative that will focus on Ecuadorian culture and the biodiversity of the Galápagos.
Erin Strohschein is currently in her sixteenth year as a visual arts teacher and in her sixth year as an educator in NC. She graduated from UNC Charlotte with a major in visual arts and a minor in art history. She and her husband, who recently retired from the US Marine Corps, have two kids, Chett (13) and Ella (10). Erin is passionate about giving students the opportunity to try many different art mediums while learning to positively express themselves. Her favorite medium is ceramics. Erin is also the proud owner of a pottery business. She enjoys selling her pottery at local markets in Carteret and Onslow Counties.
Marsha Tart has started her 12th year of teaching at Lakewood High School, the school where she first began her career. Ms. Tart, a 2002 graduate of Sampson County Schools herself, received a bachelor of science in health information and health services management from East Carolina University in 2007. In 2009, she received a master of arts in teaching from ECU. As her love of biology grew, she wanted to further pursue her education and received a second master’s degree in biological sciences from Clemson University in 2018. Ms. Tart is extremely excited to have been selected to participate in the UNC World View Teacher-Student Initiative again, as last year’s program was such a rewarding experience for both her and her students! All levels of football, fishing, nature, and any type of hard work outside are things Ms. Tart enjoys the most. Ms. Tart enjoys caring for her “zoo” at home which includes her three dogs, two cats, two guinea pigs, a frog, a turtle, and plenty of fish!