Kindergarten and First Grade
Mrs. Barnes Class Blog
Most of my childhood was spent in Mooresville, North Carolina, where I attended traditional, small-town schools. Even then, I dreamed of becoming a kindergarten teacher when I grew up! I graduated from Gardner-Webb University (with a Bachelors of Science in Early Childhood Education) and Campbell University (Master of Education.) I have had the pleasure of teaching for 26 years alongside children in kindergarten through third grade. Looping with kindergartners and first graders at CFI (since 1999) is my first love – just where I belong! In 2001, I received my National Board Certification as an Early Childhood Generalist and was recertified in 2011.
Besides being a teacher, I so appreciate being a daughter and sister, the wife of Eric, and the mother of Zach and Tiff, two adult children, who both came through CFI. My passions these days include traveling with my family, reading a great book, being active in my church, and volunteering at a very special children’s home in Honduras. One day I dream of hiking the Grand Canyon.
I was born and raised here in Columbia, South Carolina. I attended the University of South Carolina Honors College and graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Early Childhood Education with leadership distinction. I found a love for teaching through teaching dance at my home studio. This experience and one as an Americorps Vista in Mississippi pushed me to pursue early childhood education. I love reading, exploring new places, and learning through action and inquiry. It is at the core of my own educational experiences and my teaching style. I love the passion for learning that characterizes the staff, ideals, and curriculum of CFI so I am very blessed to be here. In my spare time I love reading, dance, and sitting outside with a good cup of coffee.
I was born and raised in Springfield, South Carolina where one could easily miss the wonders tucked within the trees, dirt roads, and fields. Yes, it’s that small. During my sophomore year of high school my basketball coach told me I was going to be a teacher. At the time I was very confused, but clearly, he was right. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else! I am drawn to the brilliance young minds bring into the classroom.
I completed my undergraduate and graduate studies (both in Early Childhood Education) at the University of South Carolina. Prior to teaching at CFI, I taught first grade at a neighboring school in the district. When I’m away from school I enjoy spending time with my husband, Roger. We have a cute 9-year-old Chihuahua named, Lil’ Mama who is so spoiled! I also love reading critical literature, spending time outdoors, serving at my church, and savoring the simple things in life. We have friends and family all over, so we love traveling to see those we hold dear.
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I have enjoyed over 25 years of working with early childhood children, parents, and teachers in Richland School District Two. I began teaching in the half day kindergarten program and first grade at the old Blythewood Elementary School, and then moved to teaching first grade and full day kindergarten at Pontiac Elementary. I spent several years as the Language Intervention Specialist for the Clemson Road Child Development Center, while coordinating the RSD2 Parent and Family Literacy Program and supervising the District’s Parent Educators. Now, at the Center For Inquiry, I have found the wonderful combination and joy of teaching and learning with kindergarten and first grade students through several “loops.” I earned, and recently renewed my National Board for Professional Teaching Certification. Studying at the Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California at Berkeley, and under Dr. Heidi Mills at the Center with my teaching colleagues have been lifelong learning highlights which has given my vocation refreshing new life.
love to read and to write and to sing. I enjoy playing hand bells and spending time with my family.
Lisa Smith is excited to be changing roles in the Center for Inquiry family! As a Center parent she has watched the kids cross the carpool drop off and start their mornings with heart felt greetings and warm hugs for eight years! She knew immediately this was a place she would love to work.
She and her husband, Jud, have four children, three of whom have attended CFI. When she learned about CFI she knew that this was a place where their kids could learn in a creative environment with people who enjoyed watching the children grow!
Lisa was raised right here in Northeast Columbia most of her life. She graduated with her husband from Richland Northeast High School in the days of disco music and big hair! “This area has changed a great deal. We have choices for our kids now that weren’t available too long ago. I am happy be in a place where tradition and history are important as we look to the future for our kids' education!