Kindergarten Crew Teacher
Meet Mrs. Lauren!
I grew up in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, in a little ski resort town known as Mammoth Lakes. Both of my parents were teachers, and so I grew up always thinking of myself as a teacher. My Mom taught first grade and my Dad taught middle school math and was a high school football coach. I was very involved in band (playing the piano, drums, & saxophone), in choir, and in musical theater- and I was proud of being the lead female role of “How to Succeed in Business” during my senior year.
I went to college at University of California Irvine. I majored in Women’s Studies and Global Cultures, with an emphasis in Latino cultures. I really enjoyed learning about other people and being accepting of differences. I minored in Education and pursued working with all ages of kids and young adults. I babysat small children, I helped coach an elementary school running club, and I mentored at-risk middle school girls in a program called WYSE (Women and Youth Supporting Each Other). It was a busy time, living with my high school sweetheart and staying active with choir, kickboxing, tennis, camping, and dirt biking. I had the opportunity to travel abroad to Spain, with the intent of learning to speak Spanish, but instead spent more time learning how to dance Salsa! Ha! After my Spanish program, my hunny met me in Europe where we got to travel together. He proposed in Bordeaux, France and how exciting that we will be celebrating our 16th anniversary this summer!
After college, we decided to make the bold move to come to Colorado. My husband worked in Information Technology, and he applied for jobs all over the state. When he got a call back from a place in Castle Rock, we had to Google it. After a quick review, we packed up the truck and headed out! I wanted to take a year before getting my teaching credential, so I decided to apply as an instructional aide. The legendary Ms. Kathy Carter hired me on the spot at Renaissance Expeditionary Magnet School in 2007. This is when it becomes a bit magical how my story proceeded. I received my BEST training and mentoring from my year with Kathy. The following year, I got my combined Teaching License and Masters in Education from Denver University. I was welcomed back as a classroom teacher at Renaissance, first in 5th grade and then third grade. It was sweet that the crew that I had become attached to when working with Kathy became my first third grade crew. What a special age I found third grade to be, and I could not imagine leaving it… UNTIL Ms. Kathy entered my story again, asking if I would come teach kindergarten with her. It was an incredible opportunity to work with my mentor again; this time as a teammate, so I was onboard. Then I found my true passion… Kindergarten. WOW. I love working with young learners, teaching early literacy and math skills. The growth and the joy of the kindie classroom is unlike any other. Bethany and I worked alongside each other at that time, and we are over the moon to be working together again this year!
I stayed home for 4 years, raising my twins Charlotte and Tobias. They were born extremely early, and I consider them to be my miracle twins. Charlie and Toby kept me very busy, and we filled our days with playing, laughing, reading, dancing, and crafting.
During the time I stayed home, I became a substitute teacher for a couple days a week. It was an interesting experience to have the opportunity to sub for over 25 elementary schools in Douglas County. It was eye-opening and gave me a stronger sense of appreciation for the model of teaching and learning at Renaissance. “There is NO PLACE LIKE HOME!” Renaissance has such an incredible way of nurturing empathy, critical thinking, and curiosity to empower learners to be kind, active citizens who understand the meaning of CREW. Through expeditionary learning, students are encouraged to ask questions and dig deeper rather than be assigned generic memorization tasks. Through adventure education, kids become better versions of themselves through taking risks, stepping outside comfort zones, facing adversity with grace, and learning to work as a team. When listening to 6th graders and Renaissance alumni speak, I am always in awe of how deeply they know themselves, their heart for the world around them, and their rich sense of purpose. WOW. I truly believe that this is the BEST model of education, and it is a true honor to be part of these students’ journeys. They are going to change the world!!!
Words cannot express how excited I was to come back last year and teach kindergarten at Renaissance. I believe strongly in the vision of Renaissance, and I could not wait to be HOME. We Are Crew! When not teaching or chasing twins, I love mountain biking. It has been fun that my husband and I share a love of biking, so we have been able to bike in beautiful destinations such as Crested Butte, Moab, and Whistler, Canada. We love to travel, explore, and eat! This summer, I discovered a new passion: paddle boarding! It brings me so much joy to spend the day at the lake. My kids love it too, and it is a wonderful way to spend time together outside. Currently, I am training for a sprint triathlon in late August. Wish me luck!
This will be my 10th year teaching at Renaissance, and it will be my first year as a Renaissance parent. I am thrilled to have my twins attending kindergarten, at the school I love most. :)