Christie Katora grew up in Newville and graduated from Big Spring High School. She’s now a secondary special education teacher in her home district after completing three Shippensburg University programs in as many years.

Katora received her first bachelor’s degree from Hood College in 1996. She next worked for a manufacturing plant as a customer service and shipping manager before staying home with her son from 2008 until he went to kindergarten in 2012. Her transition to education started when she began working as a learning support aide for the Big Spring School District in 2013 and headed back to school on a part-time basis at Ship.

“I went through my program with traditionally aged students and students closer to my own age,” Katora said. “Having the opportunity to learn with students who have such a broad range of life experience and perspectives was an added benefit. I have kept in touch with friends I made in my English cohort as well as my special education cohort as we all started finding teaching jobs for the first time or started second careers.”

In 2016, Katora graduated from the English with Secondary Certification, B.A. program. She completed her English as a second language certification the following year and completed her master’s degree in special education and secondary special education in December of 2018.

“I worked for a year at the Carlisle School District as a long-term substitute for the 2017-2018 school year,” Katora said. “I was hired as a long-term substitute for Big Spring during the 2018-2019 school year and was hired full-time in March of 2019.”

Katora now teaches intensive learning support biology and literature, carrying a caseload of 18 ninth grade learning support students. She is also an assistant coach for the high school swim team.

“Several of my professors served as references as I was applying for teaching positions. I am still able to contact many of my professors if I have professional questions about my job as a special education teacher and they are always happy to hear from former students and offer opinions,” Katora said.

Katora admits she had no interest in Ship when she graduated high school because it was so close to her home. Still, she says she was pleasantly surprised by all the university had to offer when she enrolled.

“I encourage my students to give Ship a chance when they’re thinking about schools. It’s close to home, but receiving a high quality education in your own back yard is priceless.”