Susan Roy, or “Ms. Susie” as the students know her, grew up in Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana. She earned a Bachelor’s degree from McNeese University in 1974. After moving to the eastern shore in 1988 she returned to school to earn a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from Spring Hill College.Mrs. Roy taught first grade in Fairhope public schools for nearly 25 years before retiring in December of 2015. Seven weeks later she began teaching at The Fairhope Organic School.
“My goal is to provide a safe classroom where children have fun learning through play and exploration,” says Mrs. Roy. A typical day includes several read-alouds, poems, songs, and class discussions to develop language skills. There are activity centers with a variety of materials to encourage imagination and problem solving. Students also enjoy plenty of free play outdoors with the other classes. Through purposeful play Mrs. Roy’s students develop the cognitive and social skills they need to be ready for the next phase of their education.
Tracy Robinson Armstrong is a native of Baldwin County. Ms. Tracy, as the students so affectionately call her, is married with two grown sons. She enjoys reading and traveling. She is a 1990 graduate of Fairhope High School and a graduate of Faulkner State Community College. Armstrong has a B.S. degree in Early Childhood Studies from the University of South Alabama. She volunteers at The Fairhope/Point Clear Rotary Youth Club. Armstrong has plans to obtain a Master’s degree in Elementary Education. She desires to become a director of a Children’s Learning Center.
Mrs. Armstrong has shared her love of learning with the children of the Marietta Johnson School of Organic Education over the past year. Students in her Early Life class enjoy hands on learning through arts and crafts projects, science exploration, and problem solving using real life manipulatives. On any given day, you will find the students participating in music with movement activities as well as dramatic play, and puppetry.
First and Second Life
Laura Velkey graduated from Belhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education with endorsements in Remedial Reading and Gifted Education. She taught three years in the Open Doors Program through the Jackson Public Schools which provided pull-out instruction for intellectually gifted students grades 2-5. In 2004, Laura and her family moved to Chapel Hill area of North Carolina to buy an organic blueberry farm. During the summers, Laura managed the farm and weekly nature-based enrichment camps for pre-school and elementary aged children. During the school year she taught 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade in the Chapel Hill Carrboro City School System at Estes Hills Elementary. In 2011, Laura’s family moved to the Eastern Shore to be closer to her husband’s aging grandparents in Mobile. For the next two years, Laura home-schooled her youngest son, Ben, for 4th and 5th grades. They learned about Alabama state’s history by travelling around the state visiting museums, camping at various state parks and marching across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma.
In 2013-2014, Laura volunteered at the Marietta Johnson Museum as a docent and also helped to catalog documents in the Alabama Mosaic database. Laura fell in love with Marietta Johnson’s philosophy that children learn naturally when given opportunities for meaningful exploration. She wanted to be a part of a school that nurtured not only the student’s mind, but body and spirit! In 2014, she received a grant from the Cornell Ornithology Lab to teach birding lessons once a week at the Organic School. The following summer she was offered a job as a Life Teacher.
Emily Patterson is originally from Sylacauga, Alabama and moved to Fairhope in 2008. She and her husband Jessie have two daughters. Emily received a BA in political science with a minor in Spanish, as well as a Bachelor of Social Work, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2004. She also received a Master of Social Work degree from the University of West Florida in 2011. While studying at UAB, Emily spent two summers volunteering abroad in Argentina, and after graduation Emily lived in Argentina for two years.
The objectives of Emily’s Spanish class include introducing students of all ages to the basics of the Spanish language, and cultivating a sense of the multiculturalism that exists here and all over the world. Students will learn primarily through fun verbal and auditory activities, such as games, songs, and exploring holiday traditions.
Elizabeth Rezner is a local artist and potter. She has been married to John Rezner since 1994, and together they have three boys Trey Beaux, Dusty and Jake. Elizabeth has been teaching art and pottery along the Eastern Shore since 1995.
Using native clay students will create art with both hand built and wheel thrown techniques. “My goal as an artist is to create a studio environment that enables students to see the value of process verses product by encouraging self expression,” says Rezner.
Art and Theatre
Sherilyn McNally is a former Fairhope children’s librarian, theatre director of 25 years and professional educator in the Fairhope public school system. Sherilyn has a BS in elementary education with minors in theatre and art. Sherilyn attended the Organic School for her Junior and Senior years of high school after moving to Fairhope from New England.
Angel Curtin RYT 200, grew up in New Orleans and lived in Los Angeles until moving back “home” to Fairhope in 1990. Almost instantly she met her future husband, Jack Curtin and they’ve been together ever since.
Dabbling in mindfulness and a yogic journey for most of her life, she began her serious studies of both in 2009 with her teacher and mentor Augusta Kantra. Angel graduated the 2013 Kantra-Gates 200hr teacher training in December 2013 and then went through the entire 200hr teacher training of 2014 as well, graduating in August 2014. She is currently working toward her RYT-500 designation in the advanced teacher training with the Kantra-Gates school, graduating in 2016.
Angel regularly teaches 10/12 classes per week in a combination of studio classes, private sessions, and is now in her 4th year as the yoga teacher at the Marietta Johnson School of Organic Education.
Angel’s classes are Vinyasa flow and are based on the “vibe” of the class that shows up for any particular session. She is motivated by the dedication and growth of her students while having a deep desire to be of service to others. She finds it of utmost importance to remain a good student of any class she attends or teaches.
Kim Jones has played numerous instruments ranging from trombone to piano to banjo and dobro. While earning a Master’s degree in Educational Administration she taught bluegrass as well undergraduate-level chemistry and animal science. She has played studio sessions across the United States, performed with professional musicians in various concert venues, and played in bands ranging from pop/rock and progressive country to bluegrass. She currently teaches vocal lessons and a variety of instruments to students ranging in age from 10 to 80+.