Stafford Elementary Spotlight: Amy McCleskey

Image: First grade teacher Amy McClusky

First grade teacher Amy McClusky (Cindy Sutherland)

Amy McCleskey started college not knowing what she wanted to do. She knew it had to be something that involved interacting with children because of her love for them. Her career choice was between teaching and pediatric nursing. Lucky for Stafford Elementary she chose teaching and has now taught there for ten years.

While attending college at Cedar Valley she decided to take a testing program that would determine what would be the best career choice based on your answers. After taking several tests they all pointed toward education. The tests indicated it would be a better fit for her than nursing.

Amy said, “I am so glad I chose to teach. I love seeing my students everyday and seeing the excitement in their eyes when they learn something new.”

She attended Cedar Valley Junior College for one year, went on to Ranger College on a softball scholarship for one year and then graduated from Tarleton State University in 2004 with an education degree. McCleskey tried out for the program, ‘Teacher in Mentor Support’ while attending Tarleton. In order to qualify you had to have a high grade point average and meet with the education board. The education board would then go over your files and determine who would qualify — only a select few make it and of course Amy McCleskey made it.

When you go through this program you actually start teaching without doing your student teaching. Instead, the school appoints a teacher to be your mentor. When Amy was hired at Stafford Elementary, Charlotte Morgan was her mentor. Charlotte said, “She really didn’t need a mentor she was and is great at teaching. We are lucky to have her.”

McCleskey said, “My favorite thing about teaching is when the kids are so excited about learning. They just have to tell everyone what new thing they have learned. It tells me I am doing what I am supposed to be doing, that the students are really learning. That is what it is all about.”

She went on to say, “The thing I love about teaching first grade is that we get to teach them how to read. It is such a great accomplishment for both the students and the teacher. I love this quote by Dr. Suess-‘The more that you read the more things you will know. The more that you learn the more places you will go.’”

When asked what it was she wanted her students knowing when they left her class McCleskey replied, “I want them leaving my class knowing how to read, write, math — such as money and telling time. I want them to have this foundation so they can be ready for second grade and they can build on this foundation in the third grade. I want them to have a good work ethic, to try their best and not give up.”

Some of the best things about teaching according to Mrs. McCleskey is “Being around kids. They make me laugh everyday by the things they say and the way they see things from their point of view. That I can be a positive influence for them and of course their excitement for learning.”

Amy is married to Mack McCleskey and has one three-year-old son named Ryan. Mack is an assistant principal at DeSoto East High School. On her off time Amy and her husband play on a co-ed softball team twice a week, spends lots of time with Ryan and tries to fit in some time for scrap booking.

“I love Stafford Elementary, the teachers are so close with one another — when a teacher leaves it is like loosing a family member and you don’t get to see them very much any more. Stafford is like another family,” said McCleskey

We are glad you are here teaching our students Amy McCleskey!