Carolyn Turk was driving to work with her husband as she heard about the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the radio.
She knew she wanted to do her part.
“It was a major turnaround for me,” she said. “It sent chills through us. We knew at that moment my husband will be mobilized. He left, and I felt like he was doing his part (as a member of the armed forces), and I felt it was my turn to step up and do my part, as well.”
The designer-turned-educator began a path that was slowly revealed to her, she said.
And it’s worked out well for the Skyblue Mesa Elementary School teacher.
She began to volunteer with Saugus Union, the district her children had graduated from, and then earned her teaching credential. And over the summer, she was named Teacher of the Year for the district.
The special education teacher works with children in grades kindergarten through sixth, and she creates IEPs, or individualized education plans, which are lessons for children to help them address unique classroom challenges they may face.
For Turk, it’s been a rewarding job and journey so far, because she enjoys all aspects of teaching, she said.
“There are so many things I love about it,” she said. “I certainly love the daily discoveries and the teaching moments that each day brings. I certainly enjoy that and thrive on that.”
Turk, who’s now been with the district a little over 10 years, has also helped countless students from kindergarten through promotion to their next school.
“I get to follow (students) whole journey until they graduate,” she said. “I really get to know that student, that’s the most wonderful thing. I’m actually beginning to have students have parents come back to me now.
“It’s so wonderful to hear that the (the students) are staying committed to learning,” she said. “That’s why (as a teacher), you do what you do.”