Welcome, Ms Claire!

Jeanie Owens
Welcome, Ms Claire!

Have you ever met someone and instantly thought of sunshine and rainbows? 

That’s what happened to me when I met my new colleague, Claire Ross.  Claire has embarked on a new adventure, moving to an unfamiliar sandbar, not knowing anyone, but ready for a new journey as Ocracoke School’s 3rd grade teacher.  That takes courage and a positive attitude.  Claire has a lot of both.

Originally from Reidsville, North Carolina, “Ms. Claire” spent the last twelve years in Chapel Hill.  She earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2008. Claire is and has always been a huge Tar Heel sports fan. While in college, Claire participated in the North Carolina Teaching Fellow program.  This allowed her to gain valuable classroom experience beginning as early as her freshman year.  She also volunteered her time in numerous schools around the Chapel Hill/Durham area. 

Welcome, Ms Claire!

Her desire to teach began as a child. Playing ‘school’ was always a favorite activity. In high school through her work as a babysitter and a Pre-K Sunday school teacher, Claire learned how much she loved to work with children.  Upon graduating from college, Claire became a kindergarten teacher at Estes Hills Elementary School in Chapel Hill.  She remained there for 8 happy and successful years, also serving as the lead kindergarten teacher as well as a coach for the Positive Behavioral and Interventions and Support program.  This past year, Claire received the Sockwell Chair for Excellence in Teaching Primary Grades award for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.

Claire incorporates new and exciting technologies into the classroom.  She has taught students how to create ‘green screen’ movies (I am super excited for her to teach me how to do this), as well as developing engineering projects- both were featured at the NCTIES (NC Technology in Education Society) conference in Raleigh. The Marble Maze engineering project caused quite a stir in the Chapel Hill area, getting lots of press.  Claire and her students used 300+ toilet paper rolls taped together in a zig-zag pattern to create a successful marble run.  While she taught students about engineering, their most important lesson was in collaboration and cooperation.  Check out the documentary she created for this project It’s truly inspirational!


Claire’s big move to Ocracoke means that she is farther away from her close-knit family. Her parents, Betty and Ken, and her sister, Sarah, visited Ocracoke several times to help Claire find a place to live and to get set up on the island.  House hunting on Ocracoke was a little stressful for Claire, “I had sold my house in Chapel Hill and was worried that I couldn’t find one here…But it all worked out.  It always does.”  

Welcome, Ms Claire!

Claire brings with her a trio of canine babies:  her beloved Cockapoo, Luke Perry; and her two rescued Chihuahuas, Baby and Levi.  Claire is very active and enjoys running, biking, hiking, and kayaking.  She is excited to become a part of Ocracoke’s community.  “The nature is so beautiful here.  I love that I can take my bike anywhere. And everyone is so friendly. I’m excited to be here.  I’ve always wanted to live at the beach.  All the stars aligned; it was the right time.”

I have a feeling that Ms. Claire’s students and I are going to feel fortunate that the stars led her to Ocracoke.  Our school will be even better with her there!

Editor's note: Welcome to the Ocracoke Current staff, Ms Jeanie! Jeanie is the 4th grade student at Ocracoke School, and has joined the Current as a feature writer.  

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