Hi! I’m Katy and I work part-time as the Social Media and Marketing Specialist for StarrMatica. I’m also an educator and have over 14 years of teaching experience at the elementary level.
It was my first grade teacher, Mrs. Martin, who inspired me to become a teacher. She took the time to celebrate my summer birthday during the school year so that I could have the same experience as my classmates. It was the simplest of actions on her part, but it made me feel special and seen. In this moment, I saw what potential teachers have to make a positive impact on their students’ lives, and I knew this was what I wanted to do when I grew up. This clear vision led me to pursue Educational Studies in college and get my Master’s Degree before being hired for my first teaching job as a fourth grade teacher in Oregon in 2007. My first year in the classroom was humbling to say the least. Teaching is both the hardest thing I have ever done and also the most rewarding!
When I would get ready to teach a certain science subject, I would literally go to my public library, type in my subject on the computer, and check out all the books that I possibly could about the subject. This wasn’t the most effective way to do this, but it was the only way I knew. This system of mine proved even more challenging during the pandemic when libraries closed to the public and were only available for curbside pickup. One day I was picking up books and the librarian on the phone said to me, “Are you THE Katy Severe? I see your name all the time when I’m shelving books to be held! What do you do with them all?!” That day they carried 63 books about birds out to my car for me. They tell me I currently hold the record for the most amount of books on hold at one time!
So what did I do with all of those books? I would put them on display in my classroom and would read them as our read-aloud books for several weeks. Kids would read them as their independent reading choices or use them for research. However, I quickly realized that many of the books I checked out were not accessible to all of my students. Some could read them independently, but many could not. Or, I found that the content wasn’t quite what I needed for teaching a particular strand or addressing a question we wanted to answer. I knew there had to be a better way!
I started working part-time for StarrMatica in June of 2021. I quickly fell in love with the position and with StarrMatica’s mission! I love supporting teachers from backstage and knowing that my efforts might help alleviate some stress and extra planning for a teacher because I WAS that teacher. I wish I had access to StarrMatica’s texts years ago
I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, but I currently live in Des Moines, Iowa, with my husband and two kids, ages 7 and 2. When I’m not sitting in front of my computer, you can find me hiking, gardening, cooking, caring for my backyard chickens, or reading a book!