Born in St. Clair, Michigan, Heather Blake comes to Whittle School & Studios after serving as Gifted Coach at Discovery Elementary. In addition to opening a new school and building the Gifted Services department, she has taught multiple grade levels as a classroom teacher for the past 12 years with Arlington Public Schools. She earned her B.A. from Saginaw Valley State University in Elementary Education with minors in English and mathematics. She also earned her endorsement in Gifted Education through the University of Virginia. Her passions include: personalized learning, sustainability, educational technology, and gifted education. She has also taken a number of solo-backpacking expeditions around the world and has visited nearly 30 countries. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, playing her saxophone, photography, and exploring!
We are so excited to welcome Heather to the Whittle School & Studios community as a Lower School Faculty member.
Q: What’s your favorite place you’ve ever traveled to? And what did you learn from the experience?
A: It is difficult to narrow it down to just one place! I have been on solo-backpacking around the world a few times, most recently in Southeast Asia. I really enjoyed exploring Yogyakarta, Indonesia and Angkor, Cambodia. The ancient architectural wonders of Borobundur and Angkor Wat tell an incredible story of the past.
I learned so much about the people, their culture, and their history this past trip from the artifacts that were left behind. I was equally fascinated by their animals and transportation. I certainly hope to revisit and explore more in the future!
Q: What inspired you to become an educator?
A: I have always wanted to be a teacher as far back as I remember. I loved school and still love school, and most of all— learning! Teachers encourage others to find their passions, take what they have learned and put it all together to become the best versions of themselves! It is the best job in the world. Museum visits, collaborations, presentations, world-class lectures, experiments, musical recitals, and the list goes on… These are just some of the aspects of teaching that make it the most unique job in the world! I have had the good fortune of having many amazing teachers throughout my educational journey, and I am more than ever excited about the possibilities to come at Whittle School & Studios!
Q: If you could design an elective what would it be?
A: My dream elective class would be about creativity and innovation. I would teach critical and creative thinking strategies and weave them into an expedition. I would have students self-select passion projects based on their interests, set goals, and synthesize the information they have learned and create a multi-dimensional presentation. I love all subjects and might be most passionate about making sure math is fun and something that all students feel confident in, especially girls.
Q: As a lover of project-based learning, what is a memorable project you completed while a student?
A: One of my most memorable school experiences is when I learned about rocks, minerals, and fossils in third grade. Each student brought in an egg carton and created his or her own collection from the class samples. We learned all about the rock cycle and the geography of where specimens were found.
This could be the reason I am still so fond of rocks, minerals, and fossils and often go on long road trips where I can visit mines and find samples to share with my students.
You can often find me at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History checking out the gems and minerals.
Heather Blake is just one of our faculty members passionate about igniting global education in the lives of our students. Keep an eye out for more opportunities to get to know our teachers, or attend one of our upcoming events to meet our team and learn more about our mission.