May Staff Member of the Month
Updated: May 24
This month's staff member of the month goes to Ms. Anna Walker, Collinsville's reading specialist.
Panther Press reporter Liz Guzman sat down with Ms. Walker to learn more about her.
LG: Would you mind telling us what a reading specialist is?
Walker: A reading specialist is an individual that’s hired, and we receive support through the Alabama Reading
initiative. Our goal is to help promote literacy in K3 so I work primarily with kindergarten and third grade students. Our ultimate goal is to increase reading proficiency by the end of third grade.
LG: What made you want to pursue your career?
Walker: I taught kindergarten, and transitioned to teaching virtual kindergarten after that. I started working reading intervention where I worked alongside with Mrs. Peppers--helped her a little bit last year. So when she retired, the opportunity came to me to apply for this job.
LG: What are some tools you use for your students to have a better understanding?
Walker: We love using multi sensory instruction, so if we’re segmenting phonemes, we may use pop-its for it. We also use our whole body for sounds. We use these fun little magnetic chips that you can push to segment the sounds and magnetic wands. We use a lot of fun multi-sensory instructions.
LG: What are some major challenges you face as a reading specialist?
Walker: One of the main challenges is you want to see the growth in student data but you’re not going to see just huge gains overnight. Mrs. Peek and I work together and set some middle of the year goals for them to attain to move students into tier one and maybe out of tier three.
LG: How do you stay motivated at work?
Walker: Mrs. Peek is a huge motivator; she makes me better. The teachers that I work with are just huge supporters; I feel like it’s just a sweet little family. I also have support from the district and state level.
LG: How long have you been working as a reading specialist?
Walker: This is my first year, but I’ve been teaching for 14 years.
LG: Do you ever plan switching careers?
Walker: Not in the foreseeable future. I love what I’m doing this year.
LG: What are some things you like to do in your free time?
Walker: I have two girls, so a lot of my time is devoted to them, both of them are in gymnastics. My husband coaches baseball so we’re at the field a lot. But if I get a spare moment to myself I like to scroll through Instagram reels.
LG: Do you have any favorite foods at the moment?
Walker: Mexican food is my favorite. I would choose to eat tacos from a taco truck than eating at a nice restaurant.
LG: What is something other faculty members might be surprised to find out about you?
Walker: Those that know me would probably know this, but if you don’t know already, I went to school at Collinsville, graduated from Collinsville, and I’ve only ever taught at Collinsville. So my education and my profession have all been on the campus of Collinsville. I think that’s pretty awesome
LG: Do you have any movies or TV shows you might like?
Walker: I'm not a huge movie watcher, but if I’m watching a TV show then The Pioneer Women would be my favorite