During her three years at KO, math teacher Sara Starnes has developed close, meaningful relationships with both students and faculty alike. Her approachable, funny personality has made students feel comfortable in the classroom and excited to learn. Moving into next year, Ms. Starnes will unfortunately be saying farewell to the KO community as she heads off to Tennessee, taking to her new position as a middle-school math teacher her passion for teaching and for helping those around her.
When Ms. Starnes first moved to Connecticut, she knew KO would be an exciting place to build her career. “When I started to research schools, I checked out KO’s website and read about what the students were doing, and I just felt like this is a special place,” she said.
Since then, Ms. Starnes has contributed to KO in many ways. As a math teacher, advisor, robotics coach, former JV girls soccer assistant coach, and advisor to the math team, she has made a great impact on many students during her time on campus.
Her warm, positive attitude in the classroom has allowed her students to grow and become more comfortable in the field of math. Additionally, the students themselves have always made Ms. Starnes’s days at KO even more rewarding. “This is a community where [the students] all want to do well,” she said. “The teachers really want the students to do well, and the students really want to learn.”
Ms. Starnes creates fun and unique lesson plans that allow her students to learn the material in an organized and efficient manner. When the results of her careful lesson-planning exceed her expectations, it makes for a successful day, as her students are able to make the most out of their time in class and become more confident in their skills as mathematicians. Ms. Starnes’s helpful notes are logical and serve as great resources to the students she teaches.
Ms. Starnes has made lasting memories during her time at KO that will continue to stick with her upon her departure. One fond memory she holds is of her students. “They created this rating system for how well people were doing and how well people were explaining things and using the math vocabulary,” she said. “And they started to give people Starnes. So they would be like, that answer was perfect. That’s five Starnes. That was hilarious.”
Ms. Starnes has loved being a KO faculty member, but the next chapter of her life involves her moving to Knoxville, Tenn. She will continue to teach, but will instead be teaching middle school. “I asked Mr. Gleason if it was okay if I commuted, but we thought, you know, Knoxville, Tennessee to West Hartford, Connecticut, a little far,” she said jokingly.
Ms. Starnes has been an amazing, irreplaceable teacher whose presence alone has lifted up the KO community. While we are certainly sad to see her go, we know that she will be a positive addition to any school and wish her the best of luck in Tennessee!