Homegrown Teacher Joins Third Grade Team

By Kate Krauser

Audrey West is one of the newest faces at Oak Hall’s Lower School. She is a Gainesville native, and attended Gainesville High School. “I have thought about living elsewhere, but Gainesville is home for me, and I believe it always will be,” she said. “Growing up in Gainesville is unique since it is home to the University of Florida, Tom Petty, and Bo Diddley,” she continued. The literary-focused third grade teacher enjoys teaching reading the most. “I feel like literacy is very important and I enjoy watching students relate to different texts,” explained West. 

West decided to pursue teaching when she began working at her daughter’s preschool. From there, her love of teaching flourished. West attended Santa Fe College, where she majored in organizational management. “I never intended on being a teacher,” West said. When she decided to become a teacher, West utilized the Department of Education to earn her teaching qualifications. 

Before Oak Hall, she worked at Metcalfe Elementary in Gainesville. During her first year of teaching, she met Mandy Ferwerda, one of the two current Lower School music teachers. After West’s first year at Metcalfe, Ferwerda left Metcalfe and joined the Oak Hall family. After the 2018-19 school year ended, a spot became available to become part of the third grade team. Michelle Mills, Lower School Division Head, reached out to Oak Hall teachers and asked if they knew anyone who would be a good fit for the job. Ferwerda told Mills about West, and emphasized how West was an excellent teacher. After the application and interview process was complete, it was determined that West was the best fit for the job. 

When West isn’t teaching, she enjoys weather forecasting, which always been an interesting topic to her. “I have always loved weather and taking pictures of weather,” she said. West took an online class for backyard weather forecasting and uses local online data to make her own weather predictions. “I like to look at long-range models and try to make my own weather predictions,” West explained. 

As for this school year, she is excited for the Lower School’s new reading curriculum, “Fountas & Pinnel”, which the faculty worked hard to accomplish. “I am super happy to be at Oak Hall and I love being an Oak Hall Eagle,” she proudly exclaimed.