ucps logo

Archived Stories for Union County Public Schools

Search by Keyword

Meet the Fantastic First Grade Teachers

(Back row Left to right) Heather Leonall, Chelsea Hurt, Sally Brown, Megan Barr, Kristina McSwain (Front Row) Shannon Murphy, Sarah Stephens, Susan Wilkerson Not pictured Abby Salsedo
Chelsea Hurt
I was born in Greensboro and raised in the small town of Siler City, North Carolina. I recently graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. I feel very honored and excited to be able to spend my first year teaching at Rocky River Elementary! I have grown to love the area and feel that this is where I truly belong. Family means a lot to me! I am very close with my parents and enjoy spending time with them whenever possible. I also have 2 older sisters who are my best friends. One of my favorite things to do is travel. I love exploring new places, cultures or just discovering new, fun things to do. I have traveled to Spain, Germany and Italy. I also enjoy painting, going to the beach, hiking in the mountains, kayaking and just being outdoors.
I have a passion for teaching! I love spending time with children and making a positive impact on a child’s life. I am so excited to begin the school year with my first grade students!
Sally Brown
I am so excited to be your child’s first grade teacher! I am from Randolph County, North Carolina (Home of the North Carolina Zoo). Growing up I dreamed of becoming a teacher. In 2006, I graduated from Greensboro College with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education. Although this is my first year of teaching at Rocky River, this will be my ninth year as an elementary teacher. I have one year experience in both kindergarten and second grade. My other six years of experience is in first grade. FIRST GRADE HAS MY HEART!!
Did you know? I am an inch away from being 6 foot tall. I played basketball and volleyball in college. I am newly married and became a stepmother to an awesome 5 year old. I learn best through movement and singing. I am a lifelong learner and continue to use movement and singing to help me learn. The beach is my absolute favorite place to go.
Heather Leonall
I am from Charlotte, North Carolina. This is my third year teaching. I went to college at Wingate University and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Reading/Elementary Education with an AIG license. I love to play the trumpet and dance. I have two younger sisters and love spend time reading a good book!
Sarah Stephens
I am excited to begin my first year at Rocky River Elementary. I received my undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education from Clemson University in 2003 and in 2008 graduated from Winthrop University with a graduate degree as a Reading Specialist. I have been teaching for 11 years, all of which have been in Union County. I began my career as a Pre-K teacher at Marshville Elementary in 2003. After teaching Pre-K for 8 years, I began teaching kindergarten at Marshville in 2011. Last year, I made the decision to transfer to Rocky River Elementary in an effort to move closer to home and make an impact in my own community. I married my husband Rob in January of 2012 and we have a dog, Charley and a cat, Theo. In my free time I enjoy running, serving at my church and spending time with my husband in the mountains. I am so excited about teaching first grade and I hope to instill a LOVE of reading into each student and empower them to become life-long learners AND leaders.
Kristina McSwain
I was born and raised in a small town about 30 miles east of Raleigh. I had the privilege to attain my degree at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. I began my teaching career on the coast and after I married my husband his job lead us to Monroe. I have been married for a little over a year now and have grown to love this area. This will be my 2nd year teaching at Rocky River. This is a great school and the students and staff are a lot of fun to work with! I am a huge family girl! I have a twin sister and a baby niece Ava. I also have two other nieces and a nephew. I love being an aunt! I am also very adventurous! I love to spend a lot of time at the beach, love to camp, hike and sky dive! Most of all, I love what I do! Teaching is my passion and I feel honored to be able to teach and care for each child that enters my classroom. I am looking forward to an awesome year in 1st grade!
Megan Barr
I am from Long Island, NY where I grew up on the water. This is my 11th year teaching. I went to college in St. Augustine, FL at Flagler College and back home in NY at Dowling College. I love to play with my girls and read. I love fireworks. I worked at a Fireworks company in NY for 8 years before becoming a teacher!
Susan Wilkerson
I am originally  from Wilmington, Delaware. I moved to North Carolina after I graduated from Wingate University in 2010. I have been teaching for four years. Fun Fact: I love to decorate with the different seasons and cook chocolate chip cookies.  I have two older sisters and an Irish Setter puppy who is three years old and a lot of energy to be around.
Abby Salsedo
I am from Lumberton, NC. This is my 15th year teaching. I went to ASU in Boone, NC. I love to play with my kids and read. Fun fact... I am a PK (preacher's kid) who moved a lot when growing up. This is the longest I have lived anywhere (14 years).
Shannon Murphy (interim for Mrs. Salesdo)
This will be my ninth year teaching. I’m glad to be a part of first grade. I was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana and graduated from Indiana University in 2006 with a Bachelor of Art in Elementary Education and a concentration in History. After graduating from Indiana, I moved to Charleston, SC and taught third, fourth, and fifth grade. After five years of teaching, I decided to move back to Indianapolis to be closer to my family,where I taught fourth and fifth grade. My fiancé and I just relocated to Union County and bought a house. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, as well as playing with my two dogs (Miss Lottie Dottie and Bo), watching IU Basketball games, and the Colts. 

Written by: First Grade Teachers
Posted: Sep 18, 2014 by Brenda Todd

Back to list of stories for Union County Public Schools