Welcome! My name is Julie Ballew, and I am thrilled to be part of the Scholastic blogging team for the 2012–2013 school year.
I am currently a literacy coach at P.H. Greene Elementary in Clear Creek ISD, a suburban school district south of Houston, Texas. We are a Title I school that serves about 770 students from PreK3 to 5th grade. I like to say that I’m “obnoxiously in love with my job” — I am so blessed to wake up excited to go to work every morning.
I grew up in Bryan, a small college town in central Texas. The youngest of three girls, I played school often because it gave me the rare opportunity to be in charge. I went to a very small private school that became an extension of my family growing up, and a string of exemplary teachers made excellent role models. I’ve always loved everything about school and have wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember. The smell of school supplies in the air will probably always make my heart skip a beat!
I attended Texas A&M University and was assigned to Clear Creek ISD for student teaching. Right away, I fell in love with the district’s balanced approach to literacy instruction. When I was offered a job teaching 3rd grade, I knew I had to take it. During my second year of teaching, I got the crazy idea to add a few graduate courses to my agenda, and I earned my Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from Texas A&M in 2009.
When an opportunity for literacy coaching came up just as I finished my master’s program, my principal encouraged me to go for it. I was initially hesitant to leave the classroom I loved, but life begins at the edge of your comfort zone, right? I know now that it was the right decision. As a literacy coach, I still spend a lot of time with students, but my primary focus is working with teachers to help them make their literacy instruction the best it can be.
Outside of work, I spend as much time as possible spoiling my godchildren, who are two of the coolest kids I know. Watching them grow into readers and writers has given me so much perspective, and they’ve helped me solidify my beliefs about literacy instruction.
I believe that we have the next generation of the world’s great thinkers walking our hallways. I believe that it’s up to us to help them understand how to communicate their thoughts in meaningful ways. I believe in giving students authentic opportunities to think, talk, and write about their reading, and I believe all students deserve to know that their stories are worth writing and sharing.
I work with absolutely incredible teachers. With the full support of fabulous administrators who are truly instructional leaders, we are always working to outgrow ourselves so that we can give our Greene Cougars the very best literacy instruction. I can’t wait to share our work with you.