The Character of Home®

Webb teachers set example as lifelong learners


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Webb faculty members not only value the lessons that they are teaching and are learned by their students, they also value what they learn as part of professional development. And, while the teachers hone their knowledge and practices throughout the school year, much of the professional development occurs during the summer months. Experiences range from a teacher new to the profession studying specifics about boarding to one pursuing a doctorate in education. Others are as varied as anyone can imagine – earning Emergency Medical Responder Certification, continuing studies in professional editing, completing a medical credit course and finishing additional courses towards a MS in educational leadership. Additional faculty members participated in conferences about topics such as brain research as it relates to education, attended seminars and served as a guest speaker at Vanderbilt University.

Following are brief descriptions about some of the Summer of 2019 professional development experiences.

Kate Allen, Spanish teacher

I went to Boston with TABS and learned all about the residential side of being at a boarding school. We problem solved, met lots of other new dorm parents, and discussed everything we might need to know as a new dorm parent or dorm head.

Tabetha Sullens, Middle School Head

I continued my studies at Vanderbilt working toward an Ed.D. Within the two classes, Applied Statistics and Learning and Design in Communities, I learned how to code data in R (programming language). I also spent the entire summer writing a research project examining trust within the adult community at Webb. My thesis analyzed how to build trust to improve identity within our faculty.

Rosie Arellano, Spanish Teacher

I met the requirements, and I earned my certification as an Emergency Medical Responder. I learned how to initiate the appropriate and non-invasive treatment for all types of emergencies such as, cardiac, medical, trauma and respiratory problems. In addition, I attended an AP Spanish and Language Culture Professional Development Workshop. I learned effective strategies, gained additional resources and activities such as how to better prepare my students for success in a college-level-course and develop instructional approaches that align with the goals of effective AP World Language and Culture course.

Andrew McRady, History Teacher

I worked with Bedford County Emergency Medical Service to continue my certification as an Emergency Medical Responder.

Daiva Berzinskas, ELL Teacher

I took classes at The University of Chicago to continue my studies in professional editing. I worked with teachers at LCC International University, Lithuania, on how to better mentor student teachers on writing Masters Theses in TESOL.

Julie Verdoni, Science Teacher

I attended the webinar entitled “Building a Bridge to AP: How to Boost Your Honors/Chemistry 1 Course to Support Your Goals” through the AACT (American Association of Chemistry Teachers) and worked towards effectively tiering the chemistry curriculum particularly in an effort to increase AP course enrollment. I was also a guest speaker at the Vanderbilt Summer Academy through the Program for Talented Youth. I was asked to discuss the Cell Biology of Cancer for which I extensively researched the current state of basic and applied research in this area. I was able to investigate the current targets and pathways of several chemotherapeutic drugs currently used in cancer treatment.  In addition, my literature search led me to learn about novel technology used in the cell biology research field.

Jon Bloom, Dean of Residential Life

I continued my studies at Pepperdine University working towards a MS in Educational Leadership.  The two classes I took over the summer were Applied Analytics and Data Visualization and Entrepreneurial Leadership for Innovation and Change.  I also attended the southern boarding schools residential life conference at Christ School in Asheville, N.C. 

Rhea Hyatt, Assistant Director of Admissions

I was able to attend the dean’s conference at Christ School in Asheville, N.C. with Jon Bloom. The three-day conference consisted of roundtable discussions in which we were able to use one another to creatively problem solve for our individual schools using ideas from different situations.

Ruth Cordell, Speech and Theatre Teacher, Theatre Director

I was among teachers the Tennessee Performing Arts Center invited to  a Lunchbox presentation of a “72 Steps” performance and talkback with choreographers, commissioners, producers, and teachers in the arts across Tennessee. “72 Steps” is a performance of the 19th Amendment/History of the Women's Suffrage movement with original choreographers and music. It was commissioned by The League of Women Voters in collaboration with The Nashville Ballet. This production is to be performed for the schools later in the academic year.

Jarylin Bishop, School Nurse

I completed a psychology, pediatrics, and obstetrics 9-credit hour course. After I completed the school work associated with the three classes, I completed clinical intensives at Centennial Hospital in Nashville on both maternal and pediatric floors. I experienced hands-on training on the NICU and Pediatric Oncology floors, along with the regular pediatric medical-surgical floor and pediatric emergency department. We also spent time training on the maternal floors such as post-partum, high-risk obstetrics, and labor & delivery. Our psychiatric clinical rotation consisted of three different locked floors at the Parthenon, Nashville.

Eric Ouimet, French teacher

During summer I went to the Neuroscience & Education: The Connection symposium hosted by the Annette Eskind Institute of Learning at Currey Ingram Academy. This symposium was designed by educators and healthcare professionals to talk about the latest brain research as it relates to education and how to apply this information in the classroom. I also completed and earned a 60-hour emergency medical responder (EMR) certificate. The class was taught by Bedford County EMS and organized by Andrew McRady.

Jodi Campbell, History teacher

In June, I attended the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Teacher Seminar “New Orleans and the History of the American South.” The seminar focused on 300 years of New Orleans history, situated in the larger context of American, particularly Southern, history. As a group of approximately 30 teachers, we examined an immense number of primary sources, visited numerous historic and cultural sites, and developed and shared lesson plans suitable for both middle and high school students.