Spotlight on Teachers

Erica Miller


Teacher:  Mrs. Erica Miller
Grade Level Taught: Kindergarten

Academic Background: Tennessee Tech University; Bachelors degree in K-4 with middle school endorsement; Masters Degree in Instructional Technology

How long have you been at Baxter Primary: This is my 6th year (4 years in 1st, 2nd year in Kindergarten)

Tell us why you became an educator:I became an educator to make a difference. For 7 hours a day I have an impact on children and their future. For 7 hours a day they know they are loved and cared for and safe. Especially at this age, they LOVE to learn and to be loved on. I have known I wanted to be a teacher from a very young age, what I didn't know then was how much these kids were going to teach me. I hope I always make a difference and lasting memory for my students as they will for me. 

What most excites you about working at Baxter Primary School: I love that we are a primary school, we can directly focus our attention on starting their love for learning, setting them up for success in the future. We are the true foundation that allows them to be successful. We have an amazing staff that allows this to happen. BPS is the best place to "bee!"


Last Book Read: (reading currently) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, The Lord's Prayer Bible Study, and The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry

What do you like to do in your own time/ when you're not working? I love doing anything outdoors, especially in the summer, from camping, going to the lake, hiking, bonfires, etc with my husband Brett and family.  

Favorite Food: BBQ from BigEs

Fun fact your students might not know about you/might find surprising: I love adventures; roller coasters, trying new sports, thrilling rides, etc. 

When I grow up, I want to be a teacher!


nichole


Teacher: Nichole Repasky
Grade Level Taught: Kindergarten 
Academic Background: TN Tech University; Multidisciplinary Studies- Elementary Education K-6th grade
How long have you been at Baxter Primary: 5 years
Tell us why you became an educator: I became a teacher to be a blessing. When I began teaching, I had no clue how truly different each child is. There are children that I've had in class that made teaching easy; others I had to dig deeper and find things that worked specifically for them. I've had children that struggled in math, like I did as a child, or struggled in reading and had to teach myself how to teach them. I've had students, unknowingly, bring me laughter on days I needed it most; and, I've had students bring me to joyful tears when that lightbulb finally went off. Each of these students blessed me more than they'll ever know, and I can only hope that I've been able to bless them and their families as much in return. 

What most excites you about working at Baxter Primary School: Honestly, I look forward to coming to work everyday because I love the people I work with. These girls are my best friends. I love our school and that it is so early childhood focused, but the ladies I work with are my favorite part of each day. 

Baxter Primary School is unique because we're so supported by our families and the community. 

Last Book Read: The Circle Maker


What do you like to do in your own time/ when you're not working? I spend time with my family, decorate/design, and I do love to shop! 


Favorite Food: Pizza


A movie is being made about your life. Who would they cast to play you? Reese Witherspoon


Fun fact your students might not know about you/might find surprising: My first major was Broadcast Journalism and I wanted to be a news anchorwoman. 

When I grow up, I want to be a Journalist




Chelsea

Teacher: Chelsea Slagle
Grade Level Taught: Kindergarten
Academic Background: Bachelor in Early Childhood Education; currently working on my Master's degree in Early Childhood Education 
How long have you been at Baxter Primary: This is my 2nd year as a teacher at BPS.
Tell us why you became an educator: I became an educator because I want to be the reason why student's love school. I want my love for my job to reflect on my students so they love school just as much as I do. 

What most excites you about working at Baxter Primary School: BPS has the most welcoming and positive environment. We truly are a family. We go through sad and happy times ALL TOGETHER! 

Baxter Primary School is unique because we allow the children to feel like children. The walls and hallways are expected to make you feel happy and welcomed. We love each student individually.

Last Book Read: "Didn't See That Coming" by Rachel Hollis
What do you like to do in your own time/ when you're not working? My husband and I love to take our dog Piper on adventures. We love to hike and get outdoors. 
Favorite Food: This is a tough one.... I love all food, but anything that is deep fried is usually my go to! 
A movie is being made about your life. Who would they cast to play you? Rebel Wilson
Fun fact your students might not know about you/might find surprising

I love watching cartoons. I honestly watch cartoons more than I watch "grown up" TV shows. My husband and I always wake up early on Saturday mornings to watch the good cartoons. 

When I grow up, I want to be a teacher! 



Lori Sapp

Teacher: Lori Sapp
Grade Levels Taught: I have taught K (most of my career), 1, 2,and 3
Academic Background- Polk Community College, AA; University of South FL, Elementary-Early Childhood Education, BS; Graduate: Walden University,
Elementary Reading and Literacy, MS
How long have you been at Baxter Primary- I cannot believe that this is my 12th year at BPS (formerly Baxter Elementary School).
Tell us why you became an educator:
I have always loved working with young children. I have always wanted to help children to have a successful life. I found my passion when I began to take "education classes". I am reminded of the proverb, "give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."My hope is to teach children to love to learn so that they will be "lifetime learners". I love hearing from formser students who are leading successful lives!
What most excites you about working at Baxter Primary School: I love the atmosphere of our school. EVERYONE from the principal, office staff, lunch staff, custodial staff, teachers and everyone else love the kids! Our school is student-centered. We know that we must incorporate the "whole child"(healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged). We all want the students to be successful and work together to help that happen. At BPS, the faculty and staff work as a team!
Baxter Primary School is unique because...our school is the only school in the county that only has Pre-K, K, and 1.
Our school is very inviting. The school is decorated and very visually appealing (my class loves finding posters/maps about things we havelearned about).
I love how we are able to work with parents (such as the Olympic Award papers); I love reading about "our kids". I love how we showcase students (such as the newspapers displayed). Students learn as they walk down the hall (they hear songs ....my class loves hearing nursery rhymes and songs about things we have learned about).
Students have a sense of belonging at our school. They love to see pictures of themselves or their friends on the walls. They love to find "their projects"throughout the school. I love seeing the rocks that were painted (each child was represented)and I can...t wait for the flowers to bloom (that each child planted). It is important for students to have a sense of belonging. These are the things that they will remember! Our school is very special!
Last Book Read: Personal: Patchwork (a novel by my aunt...Ruth Rodgers); Professional: Books about Mindset; Children...s Book: Love You Forever (I read this to my students).
What do you like to do in your own time/ when you...re not working?
I spend time with my family. I have a husband and 3 boys (which keeps me busy). There is never a dull moment! Sometimes, we go fishing; I love to fish with a cane pole.
When I get time to myself, I love to thrift shop.
Favorite Foods: I love lots of different foods: (fresh seafood, navel oranges, fresh veggies/salad with Ranch dressing, chicken/ribs from Sonny...s, etc.)
A movie is being made about your life. Who would they cast to play you? Amy Poehler or Mandy Moore.



Kristin
Teacher: Kristin Brown
Grade Level Taught: Kindergarten
Academic Background: Tennessee Tech University, Early Childhood Education
How long have you been at Baxter Primary: This is my second year!
Tell us why you became an educator: I became a teacher because I love working with kids. No matter what sort of day you are having, a child's little hug can make everything better. I just want to be the light and be the positive influence that so many teachers have been for me in the past. Teaching is not all about academics, but also about how to get through this thing called life ?
What most excites you about working at Baxter Primary School: The atmosphere! Everyone is a family and works together, which leads to a positive working environment ? I love that we are a pre-k through 1st school!

Baxter Primary School is unique because...it's the school that my mom taught at for 35 years and where I went to school, so many memories have been made there ?
Last Book Read: Trying to read the Bible through this year!
What do you like to do in your own time/ when your not working?: I love spending time with my cute little niece, Salem Rose, being with friends and family, reading, and watching Netflix!
Favorite Food: Mexican food
A movie is being made about your life. Who would they cast to play you? Reese Witherspoon
Fun fact your students might not know about you/might find surprising...I love going to the beach and throwing frisbee in the waves!
When I grow up, I want to be a......Librarian!

Sarah

Teacher: Sarah Vaughn
Grade Level Taught: 1st Grade
Academic Background: TTU, Elementary Education B.S.
How long have you been at Baxter Primary: 5 years
Tell us why you became an educator: Wanting to become a teacher started when I was little. I remember playing school as a little girl. I loved reading to everyone and everything! My favorite thing to do was teach my cousins or stuffed animals. My Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Teresa Sparks, and First Grade Teacher, Mrs. Carol Joyner, showed me what it was like to love learning through their love for teaching. I knew I wanted to do the same for kids one day, too!

What most excites you about working at Baxter Primary School: I love that we put relationships first at BPS. We realize the importance of that foundation. Building a sense of community, family, and trust in my classroom is my absolute favorite thing to do.

Baxter Primary School is unique because we are family. I love that we have pre-k-1 at BPS. Being able to focus on early literacy and numeracy is wonderful! Every teacher puts their students first. I am proud to be a honeybee!

Last Book Read: I am reading A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
What do you like to do in your own time/ when you're not working? I love antique shopping and spending time with family.
Favorite Food: My daddy's steak and my momma's egg rolls!
A movie is being made about your life. Who would they cast to play you? Amy Schumer
Fun fact your students might not know about you/might find surprising: I love classic cars.

When I grow up, I want to be a teacher with an antique store!



Stefanie Walker
Teacher: (name) Stefanie Brooke (Thrasher) Walker
Grade Level Taught: First Grade
Academic Background- College(s) attend and degrees earned . B.S. in Multidisciplinary Studies grades K-8 earned at TTU, Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction earned from MTSU
How long have you been at Baxter Primary- 4 years
Tell us why you became an educator:  I educate because I love to learn new things and I hope to share that joy and cultivate a love of learning in others.  Even after 15 years of teaching, watching students achieve and succeed never gets old.
What most excites you about working at Baxter Primary School:    It is exciting to work in a professional environment with a building full of enthusiasm for learning!  Also, everyone in the building loves and cares for the students.
Baxter Primary School is unique because... Baxter Primary School has outstanding support from the parents and the community.  I am so thankful to be in such a positive environment.   
Last Book Read:  The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
What do you like to do in your own time/ when you are not working?  I enjoy being outside.
Favorite Food:  Japanese food, sushi, hot/spicy foods
A movie is being made about your life.  Who would they cast to play you?  I have no idea!
Fun fact your students might not know about you/might find surprising...  I am really afraid of a common animal (horses) but I have ridden a camel and an elephant.  I have also held a baby tiger in Thailand.  
When I grow up, I want to backpack the world, have a family, speak Spanish fluently, learn to scuba dive....  

 






Teacher- Dee Bean Grade Level Taught: 1st Grade
Academic Background- University of Tennessee, BA in Human Ecology/Early Childhood Development (1999)
Tennessee Technological University, Masters in Instructional Leadership (2002)
How long have you been at Baxter Primary- Hired January 2003, 17 years
Tell us why you became an educator: I fought being a public school teacher for several years. Everything in me kept bringing me back to working with children. I love watching their development and watching them learn. I finally knew that God had called me to be a teacher. I quit fighting it and have not regretted that decision!
What most excites you about working at Baxter Primary School: I love the age group that we work with. Being involved in the foundational development of my students is exciting and challenging. Everyone that I work with gives their all to the school. Whether they are teachers, assistants, custodians, office staff, etc. EVERYONE does their BEST!
Baxter Primary School is unique because...we serve students PreK-First grade. We work to help develop a strong foundation for our students in the early years. We want to develop the whole child and let them know that they are loved and supported!
Last Book Read: Unburdened
What do you like to do in your own time/ when your not working? Running, shopping, spending time with family
Favorite Food: Pizza
A movie is being made about your life. Who would they cast to play you? Minnie Driver
Fun fact your students might not know about you/might find surprising...I want to live at Disney World(o:
When I grow up, I want to be a......Principal(o:

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Shannon Haggard
Teacher: Mrs. Shannon Haggard

Grade Level Taught: Kindergarten
Academic Background: Tennessee Tech University - Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education
Master Degree - Instructional Leadership
How long have you been at Baxter Primary - 23 years
Tell us why you became an educator: I love teaching because it allows me to give my students the opportunity to learn in a way best for them.  I want my students to feel accepted, respected, and loved in my classroom.
What most excites you about working at Baxter Primary School:  I love all of the new and fun things we are doing at BPS.
Baxter Primary School is unique because it is a small school with a focus on Early Childhood Education. 
Last Book Read: What if Everybody Understood Child Development
What do you like to do in your own time/when not working? I like to spend time with my family and friends.  
Favorite Food: Grilled seafood
A movie is being made about your life.  Who would they cast to play you? Anne Hathaway
Fun Fact your students might not know about you/might find surprising? I sang a song and won 2nd place in a Talent Show at school when I was in the 6th grade. 
When I grow up, I want to be a singer.




Leah Burnett

T
eacher: Leah Burnett

Grade Level Taught: School Counselor

Academic Background: Bachelors TTU- Child & Family Studies, Masters TTU- Counselor Education/Educational Psychology, University of TN ED.S.- Educational Leadership

How long have you been at Baxter Primary: 2 years (11 years in PCSS)

Tell us why you became an educator: I worked in community mental health for 5 years prior to working in education. As a community mental health worker I noticed a disconnect between schools and families. I wanted to help bridge the gap so families and schools could work together to help a child be successful. 

What most excites you about working at Baxter Primary School: Prior to working at BPS I worked with middle and high schoolers. It was a bit intimidating to be in charge of 25 little ones but I just love how excited they can get about the smallest thing. They are truly like little sponges who want to take in everything you give them. 

Baxter Primary School is unique because...They really do put the kids first. They focus on the whole child and their family. I have never seen a school truly take time for the entire family to make sure the needs are met. This is not just in the educational realm. It includes food, clothes, and emotional support. 

Last Book Read: I read “Bug Soup” at home with my daughter. :) 

What do you like to do in your own time/ when you're not working? I am a third degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.  I love teaching karate at Jack Scott Karate Studio. I love sharing my passion and love for martial arts with others, especially with kids! 

Favorite Food: I am addicted to Dt. Mountain Dew. The caffeine keeps me going. 

A movie is being made about your life. Who would they cast to play you? Hmmm...Probably Ellen Degerenes. 

Fun fact your students might not know about you/might find surprising...I was a cheerleader for a year when I went to Capshaw Elementary School. 

When I grow up, I want to be a...person who dedicates her life to helping people who need encouragement and an advocate in their corner. It really doesn’t matter the role to me as long as I am working with children. I just want to help children and their families achieve their aspirations.

Laiton Pigg

Teacher: Laiton Pigg 
Grade Level Taught: Music
Academic Background: The University of Tennessee, Knoxville - Bachelors of Music in Music Education 
How long have you been at Baxter Primary: This is my first year at BPS! :) 
Tell us why you became an educator: I became an educator because I want to share my love of music with students, and instill in each of them a love and appreciation of music that will forever change their lives and the lives of those around them. Music is so powerful because it has the ability to make a connection deeper than words and bring people of all walks of life together to share in joyful and emotional experiences. I want to empower students through music to blossom into wonderful people and go out and change the world! I also want to instill a love of learning in my students the way that my educators did for me as I was growing up. 

What most excites you about working at Baxter Primary School: What excites me most about working at Baxter Primary School is being part of a team of enthusiastic educators that always have the students' best interest at heart! It is a blessing to work in such a positive and joyful environment that is full of support for one another. 

Baxter Primary School is unique because the school receives so much support from the parents as well as the community! It is so special to see everyone come together and get involved in the education and lives of our students! 

Last Book Read: "What if Everyone Understood Child Development?" 
What do you like to do in your own time/ when you're not working? I love to be outside, spend time with family and friends and church family, and sing/play my instruments with friends and colleagues 
Favorite Food: Pasta of almost any kind 
A movie is being made about your life. Who would they cast to play you? Sandra Bullock 
Fun fact your students might not know about you/might find surprising: I was part of the first pair of female Drum Majors to ever lead the Pride of the Southland Marching Band at UT. 

When I grow up, I want to be a college band director.



Tonya Wade

Teacher: Mrs. Tonya Wade
Grade Level Taught: 1st
Academic Background: TTU, Elementary Education B.S.
How long have you been at Baxter Primary: 1 year SPED assistant, 15 years
teaching
Tell us why you became an educator: I became a teacher because I love working
with children, watching each child grow academically, and letting each child know
that I believe in them. Hugs, smiles and laughter from a small child is priceless!
What most excites you about working at Baxter Primary School: The
atmosphere at BPS is what I love about this school. Everyone is a family and works
together, which leads to a positive working environment. The ENTIRE staff works to
make the school a kid-friendly school. There is always something “special” going on
for the students.
Baxter Primary School is unique because we have a small school and focus on
students PreK-First grade. We work to help develop a strong foundation for our
students in the early years.
Last Book Read: MOVE YOUR BUS by Ron Clark
What do you like to do in your own time/ when you're not working? spending
time with family and friends, gardening, crafts, shopping
Favorite Food: Chicken and fish
A movie is being made about your life. Who would they cast to play you? Meg
Ryan

Fun fact your students might not know about you/might find surprising: I loved
riding my motorcycle when I was younger!
When I grow up, I want to be a teacher
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