Carrie Taylor, Physics Teacher, Western Albemarle High School

Where were you born (and raised, if different)? 
I was born in Orange Park, Florida.  My father was in the Navy so I moved around a lot as a youth, but I call northern Virginia home.

When and why did you move to the Charlottesville/Albemarle area?
I moved to the Charlottesville area in 1990.  I actually moved down here to get married and continue my online gaming business.

What neighborhood do you live in now?
I live in Keswick, on the eastern side of the county.

Family (spouse, kids, etc.)?
I have been married to John Taylor III for just over 22 years.  I have three children: two boys and a girl.  The last one left for college this year.  I have three cats at home.

What is your alma mater and when did you graduate?
I graduated with a Bachelors in Civil Engineering from Georgia Tech in 1983 and a Masters in Physics Education from the University of Virginia in 2004.

What is your favorite part of classroom teaching?
My favorite part of teaching is the ability to watch a student’s eyes light up when they finally understand a concept.  It is that light bulb moment for a student.

What is your favorite example of a rewarding experience you’ve had in the field of education?
My favorite example of a rewarding experience is one where I was team manager for a Destination Imagination team on which I had two brothers.  They pretty much did the minimum they had to do to skate by.   The creative outlet that the program provided caused a spark that I had never seen in them.  They worked hard, won  the region and state level of the competition and competed at the Global championships.  Allowing them to be challenged in a way that was not your typical classroom experience that got them through high school.  I keep up with them and their siblings on Facebook even after all these years.

Why did you choose to teach?
I put over 16 years in my engineering career, but always felt a need to give back and perhaps provide a role model for students to try engineering and the sciences.  I wanted to make science engaging and fun.

If you had to pick one, what do you think is the single most important issue facing the public schools today?
I think the biggest issue facing public schools today is the lack of understanding by the general public that school today is not what it was when they were in school.  Students are being pushed harder and faster (for good or bad) and teachers are struggling to keep up with the changing landscape of education.

What is a little-known fact about you?
I was an extra on the TV show Melrose Place.

What do you do outside of work hours – hobbies, etc.?
I am involved in Destination Imagination at the local, regional and international level in various capacities.  I like to quilt, embroider and tend my fish pond in my back yard.  I am also a closet how to TV show fan.