First Grade Team
We’re so glad your child is now part of our First Grade family!
Mrs. Hughes teaches first grade at Penny Road Elementary. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Multidisciplinary Studies from West Virginia University. Mrs. Hughes completed her Master's Degree in Elementary Education and 6-9 Social Studies in 2015 from West Virginia University. Mrs. Hughes moved to North Carolina in 2016 and taught in Durham County before becoming a Penny Road Panda in 2018. During her free time, you can find Mrs. Hughes enjoying the outdoors with her husband and beagle named Sadie. Mrs. Hughes loves building strong relationships with her students and families and is very excited about the upcoming school year!
Teaching has been my dream job since I was a little girl and I couldn’t be more excited to teach first grade at PRE. As the oldest of three girls and daughter of two educators, leading is my intuition. I was born and raised here in Raleigh, North Carolina. I graduated from Meredith College with a bachelor's degree in Child Development along with my Elementary Teaching License. In my spare time, I enjoy traveling, being outdoors, playing games, and spending time with family and friends.
I was born and raised right here in Cary, NC - my childhood home is 5 minutes from PRE. After graduating from Appalachian State in 2007, I was offered a job at Penny Road and immediately felt at home - I love everything about being a Panda! I now live in Fuquay Varina with my two sweet girls and my wonderful husband. I enjoy family movie nights, playing board games, and anything outside! I love teaching - being able to foster a love of reading, a spark of creativity, and the importance of a growth mindset make my job ever-changing, but my heart so happy. Building a classroom community where we all feel welcome, respected, and excited to learn is important to me each and every day.
This is my 7th year teaching at Penny Road Elementary but my 8th year teaching. As many of you know I taught Special Education here at Penny Road for 3 years but before that, I was a 1st-grade teacher in Camden County, NC. I am originally from a small, rural town in Pennsylvania, but I moved to the OBX with my family when I was 10 years old. I am the youngest child of a blended family of 7 children. It was always fun growing up with so many brothers and sisters! After high school I attended East Carolina University, majoring in Elementary Education. In my free time and on weekends you can usually find playing with my two dogs Buxton and Benjamin, watching sports with my husband Scott and most of all visiting with my family. When visiting my classroom, you will rarely see students working silently at their seats. Although there is a time and place for independent, silent work, I believe students learn most by interacting and engaging with their peers while completing tasks to reach an educational goal.
I knew that I wanted to teach small children as a preschooler. In my class, there was a tiny girl who I frequently helped with her numbers and the alphabet. I recall how excited she was to learn them, and how thrilled I was to help her! I must have caught the bug way back then. Although academics is absolutely a huge focus of learning, I am also very passionate about helping children discover their special gifts and nurture them in who they are called to be. I’ve named my students "Jewels" because they are uniquely created, exquisite, and are of great value. My desire is to support my JEWELS in developing their own UNIQUENESS, which is why I believe as teachers we must teach the whole child. To me, it is important that each child not only accepts and appreciates their own differences, but also that of others.
I am a native of Wilmington, NC, I moved to Holly Springs, NC in 2008 and continued my teaching career at one of the Elementary Schools there. Penny Road Elementary became my home in 2018. I have 3 wonderful adult children who are my treasures; Viana, Ka'la, and Jamie. My other passions include helping others live a healthier lifestyle, reading, biking, graphic design, and ANYTHING crafty. We have an AMAZING staff, here at PRE. I am blessed to work with such an incredible group of people!
Doreen Rooney: Instructional Assistant
Hi, My name is Mrs. Rooney and here is some information about myself:
I was born and raised in New York, on Long Island. I got my teaching degree in upstate New York. I married a military man (so we have lived all over). I have a son who is a computer science engineer who has just recently moved back to NC from Seattle. I have a border collie/ lab mix named Piper. She is almost 6 years old and she is mischievous and loves Starbucks. I have been at Penny Road for 20 years.