While researching Renaissance in advance of her interview, Ms. Sarah knew she had found her home. Ms. Sarah shares, “I have always prided myself on supporting students in becoming good humans first and foremost, and the culture of respect, beneficence and belonging really speaks to me. I want to equip students with the skills--academic, social, and emotional--to make positive contributions to their world, and I think that the culture that is so deeply ingrained here at Renaissance is so supportive of this. The academic rigor is there, but there is an alignment and balance of rigor and culture that I think is so important for our students. Initially my interest in REMS was tied to my interest in the Discovery Program. I have developed quite a passion for teaching gifted learners, having been the GT cluster teacher at my last school and having been one myself. There are so many unique considerations in a classroom full of gifted and talented learners, and I love the creativity that I get to use in planning for and engaging these incredible young scholars.”
Ms. Sarah’s understanding of and belief in the “why” behind our Renaissance philosophy grew organically, early on in her career. “My first teaching job was super influential. We were Title 1, 99% free and reduced lunch, 30% of our students spoke English as a second language (several were non-English speakers), we had many military families, many of our students' parents were incarcerated, and many of our students were in the foster care system. This was the perfect place for me to begin my career because I quickly learned that teaching is so much more than reading and math. Teaching is about people. Teaching is about making students feel safe, loved, and valued, regardless of anything else that they may be going through.”
Ms. Sarah’s love of school started during her own elementary school experience, fostered by amazing teachers along the way. She was also passionate about music and theater, auditioning for and performing in many choirs and shows, which she notes was possible because of the guidance of some amazing music teachers and directors. “Being supported by so many amazing people definitely inspired me to want to do the same.”
Ms. Sarah grew up in the Little Apple (Manhattan, KS) with her parents and older brother, Andrew. Both of Ms. Sarah’s parents work in the mental health field, and she credits them with having given her a great model of how to care for people and meet them exactly where they are. Ms. Sarah attended Kansas State University and majored in Elementary Education with a focus on teaching English as a Second Language.
Ms. Sarah and her husband, Sam, live with three fur babies; two cats, Willow and Snape, and a dog, Charli. They also have fish and a cranky turtle named Bruce. Ms. Sarah loves to cook, sharing “I am an adventurous eater, and will try anything at least once!” She and her husband also love to go on cruises, “We have been to the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, and Turks and Caicos so far. I also love exploring cities with rich history. New Orleans is one of my favorite cities!” Her hobbies include hiking, kayaking, yoga, and reading. She loves to camp, mostly because it allows her to "unplug" from time to time and truly enjoy the outdoors. “I never want to take for granted that we live in such an incredible place!”
Ms. Sarah notes, “I love Renaissance already, and I think I am most excited to engage in all of the traditions and values that make REMS so special!” And we love her right back!
We are crew
We love to celebrate all of the ways our Parent & Staff Crews make Renaissance a great place to grow and learn!