Caitlin (Bell) Alexander will join the Darlington Community as first-grade teacher, effective Aug. 1.
Originally from a small town near Dorchester, England, she began working at Darlington as a substitute teacher for grades ELA-2 in January and, most recently, served as a long-term substitute in fourth grade this spring.
“I have never seen a more peaceful, yet busy group of learners,” said Alexander. “This school embodies the core values of community, respect, responsibility and inquiry I want to convey as a teacher.”
Before her time at Darlington, she taught at Mudeford First School, Wyke Regis Infants School, and St. Mary’s First School, all located in Dorset, England.
Alexander moved from the United Kingdom to Georgia to be with her boyfriend (and now husband), Thomas. A Rome native, he was very familiar with Darlington’s service-oriented culture.
“He was a Marine and remembered getting letters from the kids here,” said Alexander. “It really warmed the cockles of his heart."
Alexander holds a B.A. Honors in History from University of Sheffield (UK) and an M.A. in Conflict Transformation with a concentration in sustainable development from SIT Graduate Institute (Vt.) She also holds a Cambridge Certificate in Teaching English Language to Adults and a Professional Graduate Certificate in Education in Primary Teaching.
“I think it is really important that children are engaged,” she said. “Lessons have to be relevant and interesting to them.”
She has a wealth of experience differentiating her lessons and working alongside students with a variety of different learning styles, proficiencies and needs: gifted students; those with speech, language and physical needs; and students with profound and multiple learning difficulties.
“Learning investigations should be led by the child so they can ask deeper questions. A crucial part of the learning experience is letting the children be teachers, too,” said the new faculty member. “Show and tell and presentations not only build confidence, but also encourage an excitement towards learning and independent explorations."
Alexander holds dual citizenship in the United States and in her native country. She speaks English, French, and Spanish, and plans to instill in her students global perspectives by integrating special lessons and sharing her experiences living and working in Costa Rica, England, Switzerland, and Uganda.
“I love the fact that we have the population to do a lot with cross-curricular learning,” added Alexander. “It will be fun to use my new teaching assistant Virginia [(Johnson) Guth (’79)] as a resource to do some great projects."
In addition to teaching in the classroom, Alexander also has experience as a freelance marketing and public relations professional, social media consultant and event coordinator, and has worked for event management businesses, a consumer food company, and humanitarian organizations among others.
She has served as a volunteer in New York City, where she taught about conservation, helped to coordinate a blood drive, and also tutored underprivileged children in English and math. She has also given of her time to the World Wildlife Foundation, Intercultural Youth Exchange and Tsunami Relief.
Alexander enjoys running with her pets, cycling, reading and helping her boyfriend to remodel his home. She is excited to venture out and explore Georgia to experience real “Americana,” specifically drive-ins and laser shows.
She also looks forward to being more involved as a new member of the Darlington Community, which has quickly become her second home.
"I love how supportive it is here; it feels like a family,” said Alexander. “Everyone has reached out to me and offered every kind of assistance. It is really lovely to be a part of a community instantly.”
She and her husband live in Rome with their dogs Bernie, a St. Bernard, and Layla and Lola, mixed Labrador retrievers.