One of our many strengths here at Renaissance is our amazing team of EAs! This week we’d love to highlight and spend some time getting to know Ms. Beth Sanders, our 2nd grade EA IV in Ms. Julie’s crew.
Ms. Beth grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, with two older brothers. While Beth’s mom was a “stay-at-home” mom and her dad was busy as a physician, her grandmother was a very influential person in her life. “My grandma was very loving … she loved kids!” Beth’s experience growing up with her middle brother navigating mental health challenges while being on the spectrum taught her awareness and tremendous compassion towards others, particularly children, who experience life differently than their neuro-typical peers. As a young adult, Beth attended St. Olaf College in Minnesota. (where she went from cold in the winter to COLDER!) to pursue a pre med curriculum with the goal of being a physician like her father. She eventually changed majors to study Political Science and English and eventually had a nearly thirty year career in retail management where she excelled in customer service all while loving what she did!
Eventually Renaissance was fortunate enough to have Ms. Beth join our crew as she’s been working as an EA IV. Beth was drawn into Renaissance by our philosophy and curriculum. “It is like nowhere else I’ve experienced. I believe in kids being taught, but I am also a strong believer that teaching through experience works!” While Ms. Beth has been an EA IV for many years, she still finds herself continuing to learn and to seek information on Autism and other psychological disorders. “I absolutely love it! The knowledge I’ve acquired through my own studies and learning through the kids I’ve been with have served to make me the EA I am today.” Ms. Beth enjoys the experiences she has with her elementary students everyday, “their curiosity, wonderings, and energy amaze me daily.” We are so fortunate to have Ms. Beth helping to guide and teach our students each day.
When Ms. Beth is not at Renaissance during the school day, she is spending as much time as she can with her valued family and close friends, whom she describes as “treasures in my life!” Ms. Beth’s hobbies include baking, reading avidly, taking care of her home and garden in the spring and summertime, and spending time with her young beagle, Gracie. Ms. Beth has traveled extensively within the United States, Europe, and China which all add to the life experiences she is able to bring into our classrooms.
Thank you, Ms. Beth, for being a wonderful part of the Renaissance crew!
Ms. Stacy grew up in a small town in West Texas, and had a very close immediate and extended family. She grew up visiting her grandparents' farm, playing outside, catching horny toads, and watching Jacques Cousteau and Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, and she loved nature and animals for as long as she could remember. Her parents and her twin sister also traveled to the San Juan mountains almost every summer, and as a result, Ms. Stacy fell in love with the mountains. In high school, she had several teachers that influenced her, including two English/Language Arts teachers, and most notably, a Chemistry and Advanced Science teacher who was notoriously hard and strict, but also a phenomenal teacher.
She attended Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort Worth, TX, for both her bachelor's and master's degrees. She started college as a biology major but switched to a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education after sophomore year. Both her mom and grandmother were teachers, and she decided that she wanted to teach biology as a way to share her passion for science and nature with kids. Her experiences working during a summer at Lassen Volcanic National Park made her realize that she wanted to deepen her knowledge of ecology and environmental science and to work in a field to help protect the natural world. After teaching 7th grade biology for two years, she returned to TCU to get her Master's of Science in Environmental Science.
Ms. Stacy met her husband while they were both working on separate environmental projects at Fort Polk, Louisiana. He is a landscape ecologist/statistician, and one of their first "dates" was for her to go with him and a small group of others to locate a female Louisiana black bear that he had previously radio-collared as part of his PhD work. After her (future) husband located the bear and her den and sedated her using a blow dart, they all got to hold the cubs! Awww! Ms. Stacy and her husband have one son, Zane, who attended REMS starting in kindergarten and who graduated from REMS in 2021. Her family loves REMS and are so happy that Zane was able to attend through all of his elementary school years. Zane is on a competitive climbing team, and he started his climbing career at REMS! Zane will go to Renaissance Secondary School next year, and they are excited to see what comes next. Their family also includes one fur baby, a Husky-Heeler mix named Tasha, who they adore. She is a very pretty girl, loves to talk, go for walks/runs, and get belly rubs, and is very attached to the family, especially Ms. Stacy, her human mom. If she could speak human, she would say, "Please do not go to work and leave me at home!"
This will be Ms. Stacy's first year working at REMS. She grew to love the school while her son attended here and she volunteered at REMS in various capacities over the years, including lots of belaying, serving as chair of the OLE Committee for three years, and as a parent chaperone on several voyages. Many of the REMS parents and staff members became a central part of her community, and she is excited about becoming a part of the REMS community in a new way. In her "previous life," she taught 7th grade biology for two years, and some things she misses about teaching are getting to know and interact with the kids and the camaraderie among the staff.
Her family moved to Castle Rock in 2012, and soon discovered REMS while searching for preschools and kindergartens. Ms. Stacy vividly remembers the first time she walked up to and into the building and saw the quotation from Kurt Hahn and the Circle of Courage. She recognized immediately that REMS was the perfect fit for her family. When her son received a spot at REMS through the lottery as a kindergartener, she literally did a happy dance. He graduated from REMS in June 2021, and the whole family has loved the school ever since! Ms. Stacy deeply values the mission and vision statements expressed by REMS, the way the school attempts to educate the whole child, and the opportunities for growth afforded to kids through the Outdoor Adventure Education program. One of her favorite quotes is the well-known passage from Kurt Hahn: “There is more in us than we know. If we could be made to see it; perhaps, for the rest of our lives, we will be unwilling to settle for less.” This quote embodies much of what she loves about REMS, and it appears on a wall at her house and on a brick at Renaissance Secondary. She hopes that in some small way through teaching at REMS, she can help kids to see that there is more in them than they know.
In 2016, as Ms. Stacy approached a milestone birthday, she wanted to challenge herself as REMS challenges kids, and learn to backpack. She took a backpacking course through NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) in the Wind River Range in Wyoming. Her first ever backpacking trip. The real deal, 13 days, no toilet paper! It was hard, but she loved it and wants to do more. Earlier in life, after graduating with her bachelor's degree, she spent a summer living and doing ecological field work in Lassen Volcanic National Park in northern California. That summer opened her eyes to other careers and ways of life. It was her first experience with reading a topographic map, working outside, hiking for long distances, "doing science," and much more. She met a wide variety of people who worked as Rangers and others who were traveling through the park. She realized she wanted to have a career in ecology/environmental science and to be a part of the environmental movement to help protect the natural world.
Ms. Stacy is looking forward to being part of a team that is focused on a shared goal that she believes in. She is looking forward to getting to know the kids and staff members. And she is looking forward to some voyages!
Ms. Stacy really is an introvert, but less so than she used to be. For better or worse, and in seeming contradiction to the fact that she is an introvert, she sometimes starts singing the lyrics to a song when a situation reminds her of the lyrics. Her son does not appreciate this habit.
We're so happy to have Ms. Stacy joining the Staff Crew this year! Thanks for all you do!
We are crew
We love to celebrate all of the ways our Parent & Staff Crews make Renaissance a great place to grow and learn!