Amber Bennett was born and raised in Valdosta, Georgia. Growing up, she was the middle child of five kids. With two older brothers, she had to learn to be tough. She loves sports and played basketball and softball during her school years. She went on to play basketball at Valdosta State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in environmental geography with a minor in geology. While in college, Amber was able to travel to Italy to study the local geology, was a wetland delineator at Moody Air Force Base, and spent a summer working for NASA using Global Positioning Systems as a cartographer.
After staying home with her young children for a few years, Amber began teaching preschool, which affirmed her love for teaching. After a few years of preschool and substitute teaching, she went back to school and earned her master’s degree in teaching with an emphasis on reading, language arts, and science. She and her husband, Reuben Bennett, who teaches seventh and eighth grade math, drove the 2,200 mile trek from Georgia this summer to join the CREW at Promontory. They actually made the long drive twice, taking a different route across the U.S. each time! This year will be her 12th year teaching and she is eager to jump in and help the 1/2 Community at Promontory find their potential as they become lifelong learners.
Amber has experience teaching at an EL Education school and is excited to be able to remain a part of the EL family. She has seen how the protocols of EL Education have deepened students’ learning, thinking, and collaboration. She believes that it is imperative to teach scholars how to think for themselves, have a growth mindset, and create a learning environment that makes learning fun and authentic. She is passionate about purposefully integrating the arts into her classroom environment and feels that arts integration allows students of different learning styles an opportunity to create an artistic representation of their learning. She believes this helps them to learn the art of critique and self-reflection.
When she is not teaching, Amber enjoys spending time with her husband, five kids and fluffy golden doodle, Gigi. Together they enjoy traveling, the great outdoors, sports, reading, being creative, making music, and dabbling in a variety of visual arts.
A quote that inspires her is:
“There is more to us than we know. If we can be made to see it, perhaps for the rest of our lives we will be unwilling to settle for less.” --Kurt Hahn, Outward Bound Founder
Kathy Jex was born in Beaver, Utah and has lived in UT, ID, CA, OR, and AL. She received an associates degree from Ricks College, a bachelorette degree from Utah State University in elementary education and has a level 2 math endorsement.
Kathy served an LDS mission in Portland, OR. She met her husband country dancing at Retrix Dance Hall, and 21 years later she has 4 children (1 boy and 3 girls). She spent 13 years in Alabama taking her children to swim meets and piano lessons. When she moved back to Utah, she wanted to go back to teaching.
In August of 2015 Kathy returned to teaching at Greenwood Charter School. After driving through snow storms and bad weather, she decided that she wanted to work closer to home. She was offered a job at Promontory School and she accepted it!!!
Kathy loves teaching expeditionary learning because she likes to dive deep into topics. Expeditionary learning allows students to discover through fieldwork and guest experts, hands-on activities, discussions, and reflections. She likes to empower children with the love of knowledge.
Kathy's greatest love is her family. She spends time with them reading, hiking, and going to the movies. Her favorite place to go is the beach and she loves digging her toes in the sand and seeing ocean wildlife.
1/2 Crew Teacher
Shanda Parkinson grew up in Kaysville, Utah and attended Utah State University where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in family and human development and a master’s degree in early childhood development. She has been a devoted advocate for hands-on learning and child development ever since. Her experience includes administration in Davis School District’s Early Childhood Programs, nine years teaching experience in the USU Child Development Laboratories and working as an adjunct professor for the USU Department of Human Development and Family Studies.
When Shanda is not in the classroom, she can be found spending time with her family outside. She loves to take her family swimming, skateboarding, hiking, and loves to find fun and interesting places to camp. (She especially loves camping on the Pacific Coast.) She lived in Ecuador for a time as a service missionary and loved learning the language and culture there.
Shanda is a strong advocate for child development and research-based best practices, which is why she LOVES expeditionary learning! Expeditionary Learning uses investigation and discovery to make connections and encompasses hands-on, real-world application, which is right in line with her core educational philosophies.
Shanda's favorite quote is by Dr. Seuss: “To the world you may be just one person, but to one person, you may be the world.” She hopes that through her work in early childhood and Expeditionary Learning that she can make a difference in the world.