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Ms. Tara Gilliam - Third Grade & 4th Grade Science

Hello! My name is Tara Gilliam and this is my sixth year at Saint Mary Star of the Sea School. The nurturing staff and friendly students easily make you feel right at home at Saint Mary's. I teach third grade and enjoy every minute with my students. I also teaching Science to fourth grade students using the Nancy Larson Science program. I truly enjoy seeing our students explore marine science life on our learning pier. What a blessing to be able to utilize the natural resources here on the water! I also sponsor the Virtue Club and I work in the After School Care program.

In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family and going to the beach. There's nothing more relaxing than your toes in the sand! I am a big Major League Baseball fan and have cheered for the Baltimore Orioles since I was a young child. I also enjoy watching college football cheering on the University of South Carolina Gamecocks.

I am a Magna Cum Laude graduate from Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. I hold a Bachelor's of Science degree in Liberal Studies: Elementary Education (PK-6th grade). Saint Mary's offers a unique learning environment where I can utilize the formal training I have received in a positive manner. I eagerly anticipate this new academic year and can't wait to see what God has in store for all of us!

Mrs. Covert - Fourth Grade & 3rd Grade Social Studies

My name is Karen Covert and I have been a teacher for 30 years. I have been a fourth grade teacher at Saint Mary Star of the Sea School for eleven years. I started my teaching career at St. Gregory the Great Catholic School in Virginia Beach. After many years of living in the Shenandoah Valley, our family decided to move back to the Peninsula, an area my husband and I loved very much. I am a new grandmother and love my new grandson.

I enjoy working with students not only in my class, but in other grades as well. Teaching third grade Social Studies has been an enriching experience and I enjoy getting to know this group to prepare them for fourth grade.

I am a 1985 graduate of Longwood University with a degree in Elementary Education and a reading specialist certificate. I enjoy working with the faculty, staff, parents, and students of our school, and feel blessed to be a part of Saint Mary Star of the Sea School!

Mrs. Elise McGorrey - PK-8 Fine Arts Teacher, 5th Grade Homeroom, 5th Grade Language Arts

Greetings! My name is Elise McGorrey and I am so blessed to be the 5th grade homeroom teacher and art teacher at Saint Mary Star of the Sea School. Art is a means for young people to express themselves, to learn how to work with others, to think critically and most importantly to exercise their creativity. As a part of the Saint Mary’s family, I look forward to making your child’s experience in art class a colorful adventure filled with many beautiful creations.

As an artist, my passion for the arts is personal. As long as I can remember I have had a pencil and paper in my hands. Some of my fondest memories come from the art classroom. I hope to bring the same memories to the students at Saint Mary’s. Regardless of their artistic ability, all students are capable of being creative. Creativity means coming up with new ideas, putting things together in new ways, and thinking outside the box. It’s a skill that can transfer to all areas of life. My hope is that students feel inspired to use their creativity at home, in their communities, and out in the big wide world.

In 2012 I graduated from VCU with my Bachelors in Fine Art. During the past three years I have had experience in the classroom as a teacher’s assistant, as a coordinator for summer art camp programs, and as a substitute teacher. My work as an artist has also given me a breadth of experience across different mediums and techniques. In spring of 2016 I graduated with my Masters of Art in Teaching from Liberty University with an endorsement to teach visual art to students in kindergarten through 12th grade. This year I look forward to nurturing creativity and watching it blossom in preschool through middle school.