Sandrock Elementary School 2nd ‘home’ for Craig teacher
CRAIG — When he graduated from Moffat County High School and headed to Wyoming for college, local Ty Kuberry thought he’d be getting a degree in computer science; then, he fell in love.
His then-girlfriend and current wife of 13 years, Rebecca, recruited him to volunteer for projects in the elementary schools in Laramie, prompting him to discover that, not only did he love her, he also loved teaching.
“I could see how enthusiastic she was about her classes and how excited she was about her career choice and decided I wanted to be a teacher, too. So, I changed my major,” he said.
The more time he spent in the classroom, the more certain he felt about his career choice.
“I found that I was really good with kids and helping them learn,” he said. “I enjoyed all of my classes and found that going to school didn’t seem like work anymore.”
As part of the Craig Press’ regular profile of Moffat County educators, the newspaper got to know more about what makes this Moffat County teacher tick.
Craig Press: What are the most important things we should know about you, your life and your experiences?
Ty Kuberry: I grew up Craig, Colorado, and returned with my family after beginning my teaching career, teaching for two years in Rifle. I graduated from the University of Wyoming with a degree in elementary education and have since gone on to earn two master’s degrees; one is elementary math and reading, and one in teaching English language.
Sandrock Elementary is literally my second home. I have three children — Josefina, Curtis and Kaden — who all attend Sandrock. My wife, Rebecca, is also the literacy coordinator at our school. Outside of school, I also own and run a pest control company, TK’s Bugs ‘n’ Stuff, so I stay very busy.
CP: If your greatest supporter were in the room with us today, what five words would he or she use to describe you as a person, a teacher or a colleague?
Kuberry: I would think that my greatest supporter would describe me as hard-working, dedicated, caring, motivated and quiet.
CP: In your experience, what is the most challenging part of your role as an educator, and how have you met that challenge?
Kuberry: My biggest challenge has been meeting the diverse needs of each of my students while still meeting grade-level standards and being held accountable for testing and ensuring that students make growth. This is also the most fun part of teaching for me. I appreciate how each student in my class comes in with unique strengths and areas for growth, and it’s my job to find out how they learn best, what motivates them and move them along, while helping them become problem solvers, goal setters and life-long learners, as well as teaching them to persevere through challenges and see them as opportunities for learning. By embracing this challenge, I have become a better teacher who strives to meet the needs of each individual student in my class.
CP: What have you read recently that led you to change your approach to your work?
Kuberry: I recently read “No Excuses University,” by Damon Lopez, and had the opportunity to attend a No Excuses University conference in Nebraska with some of my colleagues this summer. Damon Lopez has had great luck in transforming schools as they embrace a culture of achievement. This helped me see the power of getting students to think about their futures and (the) importance of preparing for the career of their choice in elementary school, which means working hard, persevering and always doing their best. It has helped me to realize that I need to hold all of my students accountable to high expectations and teach them all as if I am preparing them for college, but to help scaffold the learning in a way that will make them successful in reaching those high expectations. As an elementary teacher, my job is to help students discover their passions and their talents, so they can use those to decide on their career later in life. I want each of my students to know that they have the potential to go to college and become whatever they want and that I will help them along the way.
CP: How are you involved in the community outside school?
Kuberry: Due to my pest control company, I don’t have a lot of free time outside of school. I spend my evenings and weekends spraying bugs. I try to spend as much time with my family as possible. I am a member of St. Michael’s Catholic Church and attend as many events as possible there.
This summer, I volunteered as a coach-pitch coach for my son’s Parks and Rec team and had a lot of fun working with first- and and second-grade students learning to play baseball. My two older children are active in Parks and Rec sports, as well as Taekwondo, and I try to always be there for them.
CP: If a visitor came to your classroom/office and took a photo, what would he or she see in that photo?
Kuberry: A visitor to my classroom would see my fourth-graders actively involved in learning, most likely using some type of technology.
CP: What is one fun fact about you?
Kuberry: I enjoy camping, fishing, boating, wakeboarding and hiking. This summer, my two oldest children and I, along with some of my nephews, my father-in-law and brother-in-law, backpacked through the Mount Zirkel Wilderness area, covering 40 miles in three days.
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.