Faculty & Staff (A-Z)

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Bess Bryan

Faculty Information
Location(s) Lower School
Title(s) Lower School Grade 1 Teacher
Contact Information
School Email
School Phone
(828) 274-0758   x406
Degree(s) B.A., Warren Wilson College 1996
Other Information

Bess Bryan is a first grade teacher in the Lower School at and has been working at Carolina Day School since 1999. Both of her children, Ellie and Asa, have or are currently attending Carolina Day School. Bess had several years in the outdoor education field at Eagle’s Nest Foundation before moving into the classroom. “I believe that this keeps me mindful to bring fun, connection, and nature into my classroom. I am also an Orton Gillingham trained master tutor,” said Bess.    

Get to know Bess Bryan:
In what ways can you teach/engage children at CDS that you couldn't at other schools? First and foremost, I am encouraged to identify and explore the gifts and needs of individual children and I am able to create curriculum that matches these gifts and needs. I also have the unique opportunity to integrate much of my curriculum and make sure that there are common threads throughout all of the subject areas that I am teaching.”
What do you like most about your job at CDS? My favorite part of my job at CDS is the community. From the wonderful families that I have the opportunity to collaborate with, to the dedicated and loving faculty and staff who are my colleagues, I find so much joy in the connections that I share with everyone.”
In your opinion, how does the CDS community inspire students to be courageous and curious, wonder about things that they don’t understand, try new things, and develop individual passions? Even in our youngest grades, students are encouraged to ask and explore the “why?” of what they are learning across all subject areas. They are also encouraged to voice their questions and thoughts in both small and large group settings, which in my opinion takes courage and helps students identify their individual passions.”
How would you describe your classroom? “I hope for my classroom to be a loving and supportive environment where students are challenged in a fun, respectful, and creative way. I also strive to make it a place where we support one another through learning from our mistakes.”
What books and authors inspire you? Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly, The gift of Imperfection inspires me because I believe that we are always continuing to grow and learn. I hope to instill in my students the understanding that we are perfect in our imperfection, the beauty of continual learning, resilience, and how important it is to cultivate gratitude and joy in our daily life.”
What is your favorite quote about education, mentorship, children, and/or learning? “Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
How would you describe yourself and/or your approach to your job in 10 words or less? “I love watching enthusiastic connection and collaboration between my students.”
Which classroom projects/events are you known for? “One of the events that Alicia and I are known for is the first grade “year in song.” Throughout our year students learn songs about our character education tenet and each unit of study that we cover. During the final few weeks of school we revisit the units that we have studied through practicing our “year in song”, and we perform for the first grade families at the end of the year. The value of this performance is not only in the reflection and curricular connection that it encourages, but I feel that it inspires the students to discover new talents and to feel empowered in their knowledge about what they have learned.”
What personal passion brings balance to your life? I am passionate about my children and family (which include my four-leggeds.) I am also passionate about swimming, biking, hiking, creating, and being in the woods. Both exercise and being in nature help bring balance to my life and these activities keep me centered.”
Reflect on what you do in your classroom and what you see at CDS: I was drawn to Carolina Day School because it reminded me so much of the school that I attended growing up. I was lucky to attend the Paideia School in Atlanta and I was inspired and supported by many wonderful teachers. I wanted to be in a school where I could create inspiring curriculum and challenge my students to think critically about their learning and the world around them, as I had been encouraged to do as a child. I have certainly found that at Carolina Day.”
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