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New Oklahoma City teacher assumes job of woman who inspired her

The new sixth-grade social studies teacher at Belle Isle Middle School is replacing the teacher who inspired her to teach.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL Staff Writer Modified: August 5, 2013 at 12:00 pm •  Published: August 5, 2013

Katie Alsup remembers reading about ancient Greece when she was in sixth grade.

“I thought to myself, ‘This is the coolest thing in the whole world,'” she said. “That's when I knew I wanted to do history.”

Monday, Alsup will begin her teaching career at Belle Isle Enterprise Middle School in the same classroom where she was inspired to become a history teacher in the first place.

The first-year teacher is one of about 250 in Oklahoma City Public Schools this fall. She said she's drawing on inspiration from the woman she's replacing, sixth-grade social studies teacher Kristie Heald.

“She put a lot of faith in us,” Alsup said. “If we messed up, it was OK. Helping me grow was something that really stuck with me.”

Heald, who retired from Belle Isle, said she remembers teaching Alsup. The girl was shy and quiet, but she was driven, Heald said.

“It's just such an honor for her to come in and fall in love with the subject,” Heald said.

Alsup will teach topics like geography, ancient civilizations and immigration.

“All other subjects fit into history, and history fits into all other subjects,” Alsup said.

Alsup graduated from Oklahoma City University this May with degrees in teaching and in history/political science. Still, she's a little nervous. But her first day as a teacher will also be her students' first day in middle school.

“They're nervous,” Alsup said. “So it makes it a little easier on me, knowing I'm not the only one who's nervous.”

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