Once again, we have had a busy summer. Foremost among our administrative tasks during our break was the hiring of new personnel. Since many of you were not able to attend our parents’ nights, I thought I would start the year by giving you a brief introduction to our new faculty.
Natalie Jeffcoat, our new Library and Media Specialist, is not new to Houston Academy. She and her husband, Cliff, have two children at HA, Sydney, who is a freshman and Lucy, who is a 7th grader. Natalie has a B.S. Degree in environmental science from Troy University, an M.S. in environmental analysis and management from Troy University, and a M.Ed. in library media from the University of West Alabama. Natalie has worked as a science teacher, a resource specialist, and a media specialist.
Emily Smith is our new Learning Specialist. Ms. Smith holds a B.A. in communication disorders from Auburn University and master's degree in communication disorders from Auburn University. She has received Orton Gillingham training to work with dyslexic students, and she has extensive experience in cognitive linguistic and speech disorders. Additionally, Emily is licensed by the Alabama Board of Examiners for speech language pathology and audiology. She is a native of Dothan and is a former Houston Academy student (and student of Mrs. Boothe).
Laura Smith will be serving as our new 3P teacher. Ms. Smith holds a B.S. in early childhood education from Troy University, where she was the recipient of the Outstanding Student Award. Moreover, she earned an associate of arts and associate of science degree from Wallace College. She has worked in a Montessori school, as a kindergarten teacher, as a second grade teacher, as a first grade teacher, and as tutor and mentor at the Wiregrass Children’s Home. Significant to our 3P program, she has received Alabama Reading Initiative Training and has also been trained in technology integration.
Connie Capaldo will be teaching 4P. Ms. Capaldo has an Ed.S. in learning technology from University of Missouri, an M.S. from Troy University, and a B.S. from University of Montevallo. Ms. Capaldo has been teaching for almost 20 years. She has a daughter in fifth grade named Bella,who has been at HA since kindergarten. She has a tremendous love of children's literature, and she is looking forward to sharing her love of reading with her students. When she is not teaching, she enjoys spending time with family, doing crochet, digital scrapbooking, and caring for her two dogs.
Eve Espy is our new third grade teacher. Ms. Espy has a B.S. from Auburn University, and she has taught for 18 years. She spent the last eight years at Deerfield Windsor in Albany, Georgia, which is a quality independent school that is very similar to HA. Ms. Espy is moving back home to Dothan after being away for 26 years. She has three children, Emily, who is a graduate student at Auburn, Miles Jr., who is a sophomore at Auburn, and Michael, who will be a junior here at HA. Ms. Espy is a huge Auburn fan, and as a fun fact, Mrs. Boothe was Ms. Espy’s fourth grade teacher.
Lindsey McAllister will be taking over our very successful lower school Spanish program. Mrs. McAllister is an Honors College graduate of Auburn University and has experience as both a second grade teacher and an elementary and high school Spanish teacher. Mrs. McAllister was also salutatorian here at HA. She is married to Anthony McAllister, and they have four children. She loves spending time with my family, good food, and Broadway musicals.
Ashleigh Savoy will be teaching fifth grade, and she is certainly no stranger to HA. Ashley and her husband, Kevin, have three children who attend Houston Academy - Davis, who is a junior; Emma, who is in eighth grade; and William, who is in fourth. She has lived in Dothan 15 years. Mrs. Savoy completed her undergraduate work at Auburn and has done her graduate work at Troy-Dothan. Ashley has experience in both public and independent schools, but she has been a stay-at-home mom for the past 17 years. However, in the last two years, she has subbed at HA, at which point we found out she was a veritable rock star. We are excited to have her as a part of the HA Faculty!
Amy Hafen will be teaching sixth grade. She holds a B.S. degree in elementary education from Dixie State University in St. George, Utah. She was born in England and has lived in Texas, Nevada, and Utah. She has experience teaching both fourth and sixth grades. Her husband has just started medical school at ACOM, which is what brought them here. Her hobbies are photography, skiing, hiking, camping, singing, playing the flute, technology, serving, sewing, and raising a dog. One of her goals is to travel the world.
Julie Capouch is one of two new upper school English teachers. Mrs. Capouch recently received an M.A. in English from Austin Peay State University, and she holds a B.A. in English from the University of Maryland. She has taught pre-AP English, AP English, and English composition at the college level. Julie has been nominated for and has won at least two awards for her writing. Originally from Clarksville, TN, she and her husband Tom have been married for 10 years. He is a flight engineer and has been in the Army for 15 years. She has two children, Jason who is eight and Brandi who is six. In terms of hobbies, she loves reading and really enjoys watching science fiction shows and superhero movies.
Jeff Edge is our second upper school English teacher, and he is also an upper school parent. He and his wife, Penny, have a son (Alex) in the 11th grade at HA. He has a B.S. in secondary English from Troy-Dothan, an M.S. from Troy, and a B.S. in business from the University of West Florida. He is an accomplished writer - he wrote for the Dothan Eagle and the Enterprise Ledger for 16 years. Jeff has twice been named teacher of the year in his schools in Florida, and he is a very accomplished AP English teacher who has a strong reputation for pushing his students to achieve their potential. Additionally, Jeff is a sports fanatic. He has been a very successful basketball coach, and he enjoys playing basketball and golf. You will probably see him at most HA sporting events –whether or not his son, Alex, is playing.
As in years past, Mrs. Boothe, Mrs. Holman, and I are extraordinarily pleased with the quality of our new faculty. Not only do they have outstanding credentials, but they all love children. Please join us in welcoming this talented group of people to the Houston Academy family.