Teacher Spotlight: Ms. Christie O'Connor
Congratulations to Christie O’Connor of Weatherly Heights Elementary, selected as this week’s Teacher Spotlight recipient!Ms. O’Connor teaches kindergarten at Weatherly, and says her father and grandmother were big influences in her desire to become a teacher. Her grandmother would tell a lot of stories about her work teaching in public schools, while her father taught at the graduate level and instilled in her a sense of the great importance of education. She is a product of Huntsville, having attended school at Chaffee, Whitesburg, and Grissom, and says she loves Weatherly because they have a unique school, which is empowered by a very positive faculty and wonderful administration. When she isn’t teaching, Ms. O’Connor greatly enjoys spending time with her family. She has a son who is a junior at UNA, and a daughter who is a junior at Grissom. Occasionally, they like to attend sporting events – especially if it involves Oklahoma, where Ms. O’Connor’s father earned his Ph.D.
“She is an exceptional teacher,” praises Weatherly Principal Debra West, “she is trusted by her parents, and loved by her students.” The kindergarten students in Ms. O’Connor’s class seem constantly engaged and leave her room with a love of learning. Mia Goodloe, one of her students, says that “she is very nice to us, and she helps us learn the things that we don’t know.”
Principal West explains that even though Ms. O’Connor has been teaching for over twenty-two years, she is currently seeking National Board Certification. According to Ms. West, “that goes to show you that she continues to grow, wants to continue to show excellence… that is what you call a master teacher.” According to Ms. O’Connor, “it’s huge, being that first teacher, but it’s also very rewarding because I’m setting up the foundation for them, for the rest of their career – for all of their education.” Sometimes former students that are now seniors come back to ask if she will attend their graduation. She says, “to know that I played a part, a little-bitty part in their education, is so rewarding”
Ms. O’Connor points out that it’s very important for educators to maintain a passion for teaching, saying that “even twenty-three years in, you have to treat every year with the same excitement you did your first year.” It’s clear Ms. O’Connor hasn’t lost that passion, and her students are the better for it.