For this month's blog, I had the pleasure of sitting down separately with three of my colleagues. I asked them each three questions. Our interviews are below!
Fourth grade teacher Taylor Evertsberg is featured in the first conversation. Next year will mark her fourth year at NPS (4th grade teacher…fourth year…looks like we have a Power of Four theme here!).
Malcolm Lester: What better place to start than by asking you about your classroom, which is a picturesque spot and is a unique space at NPS. What can you tell me about it?
Taylor Evertsberg: I love my classroom. It's beautiful. There's the fireplace. The windows looking outside to the field. That can be distracting, but as we learned from the summer reading book [The Self-Driven Child], it can actually be good to have a momentary mental break and let your mind wander. It's lovely to have the fireplace space; it makes the room very homey. We also have two rug areas, and it allows us to have a lot of small groups. It's a great space visually and also for the students and teachers.
ML: What brings you happiness during a day at NPS?
TE: My favorite part about being a teacher is letting children explore. I like watching them figure it out on their own—giving them questions and watching them probe and discover. We do "See-Think-Wonder" routines in our class and do a lot of close looking—at ideas, at issues. In those instances, the students are guiding the discussion. Also, I really love lesson planning and trying to get creative with it. That becomes an opportunity for me to do my own exploring and to grow.
ML: I know that you have some big summer plans – what's in store for you?
TE: I'm getting married this summer, on June 22nd. That's coming up pretty soon, isn't it? [Laughs]. My dad is a Presbyterian pastor and he is going to be the officiant at the wedding. I'm from Connecticut, but my parents moved to Illinois, outside of Chicago, right after I graduated from college, so the wedding will be there, at his church. It will actually be a summer of weddings—a cousin is getting married this summer and my brother is getting married in September. My dad is the officiant at all three of the weddings, so he will be keeping busy!
We send Ms. Evertsberg our warmest wishes on her upcoming nuptials!
Next up is Safety Officer Tyree White, who joined the NPS community in a full-time capacity last spring.
Malcolm Lester: I know that you were born and raised in DC. What would you like to share about your upbringing, and what you were like as a youngster?
Tyree White: As a kid I was quiet and I wasn't outgoing. I was kind of in a shell and didn't say too much. In grade school, I was afraid to answer questions in class, but as I got older, around 6th grade, I broke out of my shell, partly due to sports. I went to Smothers Elementary School. The memories I have of elementary school were of the teachers. My teachers knew me better than I knew myself. They liked my energy and they said that one day I was going to blossom like a bright flower.
ML: You mentioned sports. I call you "QB-1" because I know that you played quarterback at Dunbar High School and I believe you were pretty good. [Note: The Washington Post named Mr. White an honorable mention All-Met pick at quarterback when he was in high school]. Can you explain the role that sports played in your life?
TW: I was tall, so my mom encouraged me to play sports, and I signed up at the rec center and played football, basketball, and baseball for DC Boys Club 14. Once I got more interested in sports, I came out of my shell and I wanted to do all of the sports. I was good at football, but baseball was my favorite and still is to this day. Sports allowed me to develop confidence and to have friendships and of course have a lot of fun.
ML: We are fortunate to have you at the school, and please tell me about your journey to NPS and how you ended up here.
TW: After college, I was working as a general manager at Roti Mediterranean Grill near Union Station. The management changed so I looked for a change also. I always wanted to go into the security field and had wanted to be a policeman. I got a job at Securitas [a security services firm] and when they were placing me in a location, they asked me if I wanted to work at a school or elsewhere. I told them that I had always enjoyed working with kids and so they placed me at NPS, which then turned into a full-time job here.
As soon as I stepped on campus, I could feel the energy from the community. From the teachers, the students, the parents. It was everything I had ever asked for. I love my job and I especially love recess and morning arrival. Seeing my colleagues' faces, seeing the children's faces, seeing the parent's faces. Seeing them brings me joy and helps lead me through the day.
Thank you, Officer White. You bring us joy as well!
To close out our Power of Three interviews, I sat down with Nursery teacher Kim Razick. Next year will be her 35th year at NPS!
Malcolm Lester: Can you tell me about your background and your path to NPS?
Kim Razick: My family has been part of National Presbyterian Church since the 1970s. I joined the NPC Youth Group in 10th grade. As a young person, I worked at summer camps, loved being with little ones, and I knew that I wanted to become a teacher. Mr. Jackson, my high school counselor, said "Are you sure about that?" I said "Yes," that teaching was something I knew I wanted to do. There's just a joy about it.
After graduating college, I joined NPS as a Kindergarten teacher. I was thrilled about the opportunity. When I came here in 1983, the school went only to 3rd grade. Each year after that, it added a grade—and I went down a grade! I taught Kindergarten for two years, and back then there was a grade called Transition before Kindergarten, and I taught that for about 8 years and then moved to Nursery, where I have been ever since.
ML: What changes come to mind when you think about all that you have seen and experienced in your teaching career? I know that is broad, so consider it your "free choice" question!
KR: Well, I can tell you what hasn't changed. NPS is a warm and nurturing community and that is one of the key reasons I have stayed for 35 years. We embrace the Core Values, even down to the youngest students. The dedication and earnestness of the faculty—that has not changed. I was blessed to watch my own son and daughter go through NPS and I couldn't have been more proud of who it helped them become. I know our NPS community continues to provide positive experiences year after year.
ML: You said earlier that there is "a joy" about teaching, about doing what you do, so could you please elaborate on what brings you joy as a Nursery teacher?
KR: I find joy in watching and cultivating the relationships between our Nursery children, and the confidence that grows in them over the course of a year. It is also wonderful to see their motor development and abilities increase. I find joy in the way our NPS children speak to each other, and the respect they show one another. I can see that they embody our Core Values. There is definitely joy in knowing that we've helped build their foundation and love of learning!
Thank you, Ms. Razick, for the interview and for the love you have given your students over the years.
It was a pleasure for me to sit down with these colleagues, hear their stories, and to share them with you. I look forward to conducting more Power of Three interviews—three people, three questions—with three different co-workers next year!
- Head of School