FOR THE PUBLIC: Sally Elder of Lake of the Pines | TheUnion.com
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FOR THE PUBLIC: Sally Elder of Lake of the Pines

Job Title: Second and Third Grade Teacher, Highland Oaks School

What I do in my job: My goal is to prepare my students to be valuable participants in society by providing them with the knowledge and desire to be life-long learners.

Why my job is important to the public: Educators are an essential part in preparing our youth for the challenges that await them.



The special skills and talents I bring to my job: Artistic, organized, patient.

The best part of my job is when: Students are excited about their learning and take the initiative to learn more outside of class. It is rewarding when a student comes back, after we have learned to write poetry, with a poem of their own and a sparkle in their eye because they couldn’t wait to get to school to show me.




The part of my job I like least: Is saying goodbye to my students at the end of the year.

A day of work I’ll always remember was…: My last day of student teaching with my kindergarten class. As we sat in a circle to say our goodbyes, I reflected on the amazing cooperating teacher I had and connections I worked so hard to make with these students, who often struggled just to get to school each morning. I will never forget the student I struggled the most to make a connection with turned to me and told me he loved me and would miss me when I’m gone.

How I got my job: I come from a family full of teachers. For that reason, I thought that I would do something different. But when I began working with children in college, I knew that I would follow the family tradition. I came to Highland Oaks three years ago after moving to Grass Valley. I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to work in the same community that I live.

My dream job would be: Teaching children in the outdoors, such as an environmental education program, because it would merge the two things I love the most.

My family: Has been gold mining at Poker Flat, above Downieville, each summer for the last 20 years.

My hobbies: Revolve around the outdoors. I spend my summers backpacking, taking photographs, swimming and rafting in the rivers.

When I was a kid, I …: My stepsister and stepbrother spent countless hours at the river building a “town” from junk we found on the banks. One day I heard my brother, Joseph, yelling for help. I ran to the area where the owners of the vineyards would dump miscellaneous things, our “goldmine,” and found my brother with a piece of glass through his foot. I carried him a half a mile to the nearest house for help. That experience brought us even closer.

If money were no object, I would: Be able to buy all of the technology needed to have a state of the art classroom. I would also have art and science supplies that every teacher dreams of having.

My dream vacation: Would be a backpacking trip around the world. I would want to experience what life is like in different cultures.

If a movie were made of my life: Reece Witherspoon would play me.

The person who made the biggest difference in my life is: My mother. My drive to want to be challenged and improve in all that I undertake is because of my mother’s guidance. She also made a point of taking me on road trips across the United States. Now I have the desire to spend my summers revisiting those places and seeing the rest of the world.

My heroes would be: My grandparents because they are a strong family unit and continue to live their lives to the fullest at the age of 87. I strive to live my life as they have by taking advantage of each day.

The best book I’ve read lately is: Harry Potter. I decided to read the first one because so many of my students were excited about reading it and I wanted to a be part of it. Since then, I’m hooked. I am now reading the third book.

The soundtrack to my life would include these songs: “Minarets” by the Dave Matthews Band, “Best Day” by Dido.

I like living in Nevada County: Because of the beautiful landscape and the charming town. I also love the history of the area and the close proximity to Tahoe and my grandparents’ gold mining claim above Downieville.

“For the Public” appears each Wednesday. To suggest a public servant to be profiled, call The Union newsroom at 273-9561.


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