As St. George’s students return to campus for the new year, they will see at least one new face in the Middle School halls…Integrationist Kara Vaughn, a self-described “explorer of ideas who is energized by discovering originality, uncovering simplicity, and making connections.” Kara has an extensive background in education, including a year-long residency at the Martin Institute for Teaching Excellence, and has presented her work at several esteemed conferences.
Among the courses Kara will teach is CO-LAB, a new Middle School course designed to provide students with the necessary tools and environment needed to gain confidence in approaching situations within themselves, and within their communities. Lessons include brain function, character education, information literacy, project-based design thinking exploration and the importance of employing a growth mindset.
“My most formative experiences as a learner were shaped by the small, messy moments,” said Kara. “My most impassioned moments as a teacher are driven not by black-and-white content but by the discovery of meaning—and the calls to action—found in the grey. As a mentor teacher of mine used to say, ‘The learning that sticks, is the messy kind.’ It’s so encouraging to see a school dedicate time, space, and teachers to this kind of learning.”
Kara is passionate about giving her students unique experiences, showing differing points of views and cultivating their ability to analyze and solve problems—all within a safe and supportive classroom environment.
“My practice comes down to the most basic foundation: empathy for the unique and winding roads to understanding, celebration of the process, a model of the authenticity and reflection that fosters growth, and, under it all, assurance for my students that their strengths, needs, and desires are known.”
When asked what her favorite part of being an educator is, Kara answered that it is seeing those “lightbulb moments,” in which learning something new sparks joy within a student. “It’s the small moments of connection that I love the most.”
St. George’s is thrilled to have Kara join our community and we look forward to seeing all of the “messy moments” our middle schoolers create in one of our most unique courses.
IN THIS SECTION