The Heart of a Teacher – Center for Teacher Education Speaker Event
presented by ONU’s Department of Education and Center for Teacher Education
A teacher’s heart overcomes obstacles and finds a way to touch the hearts and minds of each and every student.
The ONU Department of Education and Center for Teacher Education proudly present “The Heart of a Teacher” on Tuesday, August 27, 2013, at 7 p.m. in the Dicke Forum, James F. Dicke Hall.
Two ONU alumni and outstanding teachers will share their incredible journeys toward teaching excellence and offer strategies for creating a safe and nurturing classroom where each student can succeed.
Stephanie Carr, BA '05, teaches middle school students in an urban school in Nashville where 70 percent of her students don’t speak English at home and 93 percent live in poverty. She was named Teacher of the Year in 2013 at her school.
Joe Virant, BA '03, is a former teacher and technology administrator who has successfully utilized technology to transform the way students learn. He currently designs technical training courses for adult learners for Baker Hughes, Inc. He was named Teacher of the Year in 2006 at an elementary school in Houston.
This event is free and open to the public. A reception in Dicke atrium will follow the presentation.
About the speakers
Stephanie Carr, BA, ELA, German Ed. ’05, is an eighth grade English and US History teacher at Wright Middle School in Nashville, Tenn. She describes her time at ONU as the most wonderful, nearly perfect period of life. While at ONU, Stephanie majored in English Language Arts and worked with Dr. Walter to create the German Education major. She was the 2005 recipient of the Harold P. Vayhinger Memorial Award and the Outstanding Major in German Award. In 2013, she was named Teacher of the Year at Wright Middle School. ... read more
Joe Virant, BA, MCED ’03, is an Instructional Design Project Manager with Baker Hughes, Inc. In this role, he designs and develops technical training courses for adult learners. Prior to his move to the corporate sphere in 2012, he spent his career working in two large public school districts: Katy Independent School District and Spring Branch Independent School District, both in the Houston, Texas area. In 2006, he was named Teacher of the Year for his exemplary performance as a fifth grade language arts/ social studies teacher at Maurice L. Wolfe Elementary in Katy, Texas. ... read more
Stephanie Carr (BA, ELA & German Ed. ’05) is an 8th grade English and US History teacher at Wright Middle School in Nashville, Tennessee. She describes her time at ONU as the most wonderful, nearly perfect period of life. While at ONU Stephanie majored in English Language Arts and worked with Dr. Walter to create the German Education major. She can testify that ONU means it when they promise an individualized education and say, “large enough to challenge and small enough to care.” While at ONU, Stephanie was an active participant in Habitat for Humanity, Mortar Board, Sigma Tau Delta, Kappa Phi, and several other organizations. She was the 2005 recipient of the Harold P. Vayhinger Memorial Award and the Outstanding Major in German Award.
Upon graduating from ONU, Stephanie moved to Nashville, TN and got a job working for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. She started teaching 8th grade Language Arts at Joelton Middle School where she served on the leadership team and represented her school at district meetings. In 2009 she was selected to serve on the inaugural faculty of Madison Middle School and had the privilege of opening and starting a brand new school. In 2010 Stephanie accepted a seat in Vanderbilt University’s first cohort of students seeking a masters degree in Teaching and Learning in Urban Schools (TLUS), which required another school move, so she transferred to Wright Middle School in the fall of 2010. Wright Middle School is a high need, urban school where about seventy percent of the student population do not speak English at home and ninety-three percent of are living in poverty. She is still teaching at Wright and this year will be teaching an integrated class of 8th grade Literacy and US History. For the past eight years, at the conclusion of observations, colleagues and administrators have been asking her, “How did you think of/know to do this?!” to which Stephanie answers, “I went to college to be a teacher, and my program at ONU was outstanding.”
While teaching full time, Stephanie completed her Masters degree at Vanderbilt. She presented her capstone research on cultivating true bilingualism in her ELL students at the annual NCTE conference as well as at the ALAN workshop, both national conferences. She is currently seeking publication for this research. She has represented Vanderbilt University at national training sessions and has been a guest speaker/substitute teacher for Peabody professors. She works closely with Vanderbilt researchers in the EL department, and enjoys learning about how to best teach students who do not speak English as a first language. In January of 2013, she was appointed to the board of directors for Mountain T.O.P. (Tennessee Outreach Project) a non-profit ministry dedicated to addressing the physical, social, emotional, and spiritual needs of the Cumberland Mountain People. Since appointment, she has been selected to serve as a liaison between Mountain T.O.P. and Sewanee: The University of the South. They are collaborating to create a program in which college students are integrated into their surrounding community to make an impact through service.
Stephanie was Wright Middle School’s teacher of the year in 2013. This award came quickly in just her third year at the school, and that can be attributed to her beliefs about teaching and learning and sense of teacher efficacy. Stephanie truly believes that every student can learn at high levels and behave appropriately. Therefore, she has extremely high expectations for her students that remain intact and at the forefront of her classroom despite copious, pervasive obstacles. She holds herself 100% personally responsible for the climate of her classroom and the amount of learning that occurs therein. She strives to make these beliefs evident daily in all aspects of her teaching—instructional decisions, expectations, planning, instruction, assessment, communications, and interactions. Stephanie defines her success as a teacher by the achievement and growth of her students. Ms. Carr is fueled by her desire to make a difference and to be the best and favorite teacher her students ever have. She hopes that students leave her class with an enriched sense of integrity, confident enough to self-advocate, and inspired to make the world a better place.
Joe Virant (BA, MCED ‘03) is an Instructional Design Project Manager with Baker Hughes, Inc. In this role, he designs and develops technical training courses for adult learners. Prior to his move to the corporate sphere in 2012, he spent his career working in two large public school districts: Katy Independent School District and Spring Branch Independent School District, both in the Houston, Texas area.
In 2003, as a result of attending the Education Expo at King-Horn, Joe was hired for his first classroom teaching role: 5th grade Language Arts/Social Studies at Maurice L. Wolfe Elementary in Katy ISD. While there, he was named Teacher of the Year in 2006. Next he moved to teach 8th grade U.S. History at Spring Forest Middle School in Spring Branch ISD. In 2007, Joe returned to Katy ISD as an Instructional Technology Facilitator, supporting approximately 200 teachers at two elementary campuses through mentoring, co-teaching, and other professional development initiatives. In 2009 he transitioned to support 12 campuses in grades PK-12 as a Technology Integration Specialist and Lead for Emerging Technologies, and finally in 2011 became an Instructional Technology Coordinator, based in the Katy ISD administration building, where he helped lead district-wide initiatives including Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and a large mobile learning project involving 2,000+ students being issued their own Android-platform devices for the school year.
Joe is a driven-to-learn individual, a tinkerer, and asks a lot of questions. He works hard to retain a playful sensibility about the world. He is/has been a member of an alphabet soup of professional organizations (ASCD, ASTD, ISTE, NCTE, TCEA, TCTELA) and enjoys attending and presenting at conferences both in person and virtually. He has led conference sessions for Texas ASCD, Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA), and the International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE). Joe has also been a guest speaker for teacher candidates at the University of Houston-Clear Lake and Houston Community College.
While at ONU, Joe was an Academic Honor Scholar, a member of ASCD, and played bass trombone with many performing ensembles, including the ONUMB, Jazz Ensemble, ONU Symphony, Wind Ensemble, Pep Band, University Singers, and more. He continues his passion for music today as a member of The Billie Ledbetter Orchestra, a 20-piece swing-era big band that performs around Houston and across Texas.