Thanks to Teachers: Wanda Crisp

Wanda Crisp is a longtime kindergarten teacher at the Blue Ridge School in Cashiers. She spent the day bringing President's Day lessons to life. Her students did everything from wearing a three-cornered hat, to signing their names to a copy of the Declaration of Independence with a quill and ink. "Sometimes they ask questions that I do not know the answer to, which then, keeps me, as being a lifelong learner....but, they're always making me think about things in a different way. Crisp, who the students call "Miss Wanda" says having a different class each year also helps keep her motivated.

This year, one of her students, Kayna, began class with emotional issues. Her mom, Brittany Gordon, says seizures and panic attacks were a regular part of the little girl's life. "She doesn't have her panic attacks anymore, not one since she started," says Gordon. "She can already read, write. Kayna is already on a first grade level reading." Miss Wanda says her philosophy for helping students like Kanya is "celebrate what they know. Then, say 'how can we partner?' Student and teacher, student and parent, student and community member." Gordon says she feels very fortunate Miss Wanda has chosen to stay in the Blue Ridge School community after having a conversation with Miss Wanda's mother. "There's so many schools who want you up here in Virginia.' and she just can't leave these kids. She loves it here. That means a lot to a small town like this."

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