Staff Spotlight: Elizabeth Daniels

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Job title: Language Arts Teacher/Literacy Coach

Education experience: Undergraduate from University of Northwestern- St. Paul, currently pursuing a Masters of Education in Learning Design and Technology from Saint Mary’s University of MN

Years with the district: 8

What are some of your hobbies and interests? I love discovering all kinds of new things from hiking trails, to foods, breweries, documentaries, and games. I’m often found dancing to loud music in my kitchen with my husband and two little boys, Fitzwilliam(4) and Everson(2). I enjoy birdwatching and like to study up on the local bird life of new places I travel to before I go.  In the winter months (so...almost all of the months in MN), one can find me snowboarding or frequenting coffee shops for tea lattes.

What’s something interesting about you that not a lot of people know? I’m partially Serbian and Croatian, and I try to attend Serbian festivals in the area when I can to enjoy the tamburica music and kolo (circle) dancing, which I also had at my wedding.

Why did you decide to pursue a career in education? I didn’t decide to go into teaching until my last semester of high school.  I loved talking about stories and what they mean to people, so teaching English class seemed like a logical pursuit.  My final decision came when I told my high school custodian that I was thinking about studying education in college, and he told me I’d make a great teacher.  His seemingly random vote of confidence in me somehow helped me settle into the idea of becoming a teacher, and in some ways I think I had been teaching in various capacities for a long time.  Since beginning my teaching journey almost 8 years ago, I have fallen in love with education. Faribault has a special place in my heart for helping me develop that passion.

What do you enjoy most about working with students? I love experiencing when students get excited about something. Sometimes that comes with new learning, sometimes it’s from their involvement in an extracurricular, sometimes it’s just in fun conversation where I get to know them more.  It brings an energy to my days that is so unique and unpredictable.

Share a fun project you've worked on or innovative teaching method you've used this year. What made it memorable for you? I’ve been trying to incorporate student choice into my classroom more and have also been experimenting with making my students teachers.  In my AP Lit and Comp class, I recently had groups of students choose a complex sonnet to analyze, and they were then tasked with teaching the class about it. They were given time to have the necessary literary discussions and the time to collaboratively “lesson plan” their presentations.  It was amazing to see the deep learning that took place when students accepted others’ learning as their responsibility, too! What do you enjoy about being part of Faribault Public Schools? I will forever be grateful for the opportunities I get in Faribault to grow as an educator.  I’ve gotten to be part of various extra curriculars; I’ve been able to be trained in and teach AP and AVID courses; I was able to be a part of the building of the 9th Grade Academy; I now get to spend part of my day as an instructional coach working collaboratively with other teachers.  I could probably mention more, but the point is that I so appreciate the ever-expanding culture of growth that I have seen developing in our district. I get to work with awesome educators every day who want to be and work to be even more awesome.

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