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Second and Third Grades

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Susanne Pender
Mrs. Pender's Classroom Blog

From the time I was very young playing school with my younger cousins and stuffed animals, I knew that teaching would be my chosen path. I began this journey by completing my undergraduate work at Illinois State University and then obtained a Master’s degree from the University of South Carolina a few years later.
After twenty-one years of teaching, I have also gained National Board Certification and have successfully completed the renewal process. I have taught children all of ages from age six to thirteen in a variety of educational settings with the majority of my experiences being here at the Center for Inquiry. For eighteen years I have been incredibly blessed with the opportunity to live and work with an amazing group of colleagues, children and families.
I have also been incredibly lucky to have my children be a part of this community. Our twelve-year-old twins thrived during their years here and even though they’ve now moved on to the world of middle school, they still consider CFI to be their “home.”
Our youngest son is in the 4th grade and still rides with me to school everyday. I am treasuring our conversations and time together as I know that it will not last much longer. Our extended family is very involved in our life and you will often see the grandparents attending gatherings and school functions. It’s wonderful to have both school and home families so intertwined. It just feels right.
Outside of school, our family loves to spend time jumping waves at the beach as well as hiking in the mountains. We are very active with sports, horseback riding, music lessons, and church activities. Walt Disney World and the Gamecocks are our guilty pleasures, but the Midwestern girl in me still believes that the Cubs, will in fact, one day win the World Series. Maybe next year.

Chris Hass
Mr. Hass's Class Blog

My name is Chris Hass and I'm a native of St. Louis, MO. I received my undergraduate degree from Southern Illinois University and my Master's and PhD from the University of South Carolina. I enjoy all parts of teaching but especially opportunities to explore issues of culture, equity, and power as they relate to our communities and our lives.
When not at school I spend lots of time with my wife Tricia  and our four children. Like many families, we work very hard and are extremely busy throughout the year. However, we are careful to leave time for getting outdoors and playing together. We love doing most everything that involves the sun, water, or a mountain. Some of our favorite activities are traveling, swimming, paddling, and hiking.

Nozsa Tinsely

My name is Nozsa Tinsley and I am from the very small town of Lancaster, SC. I first arrived in Columbia as an undergraduate student at the wonderful University of South Carolina. There, I received my bachelor's degree in psychology and later received my graduate degree in Elementary Education. Flash forward a few years and here I am in my 4th year of teaching. I am beyond blessed to be able to wake up every day and do what I love! I've known since a young age that I wanted to teach. I taught 2nd grade for a year and was ecstatic to loop up with my kids to 3rd grade. I've been teaching 3rd grade every since. When I'm not teaching and learning with my kids, I enjoy being outside with my dog Piper. I'm as inquisitive outside the classroom as I am within the classroom. So it's not rare to find me out at the riverwalk or in a museum or even out at the farmer's market taking in the abundance of culture. I consider myself a lifelong learner and jump at every chance I'm presented to experience something new!

Tim O'keefe