Shelly Bivens is starting her 19th year at NLISD. She graduated from Texas A&M University - Commerce in 2001 with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a specialization in reading and began teaching in the fall of that year. Her classroom experience includes seven years as a 3rd grade self-contained teacher, one year as a RTI specialist, four years as a 4th grade ELAR teacher, three years working with gifted and talented students, and she is beginning her fourth year as an Instructional Coach. In 2017, she graduated from Texas A&M University - Commerce with a masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction and she has also completed her principal's certification. In Shelly's current role as a K-5th ELAR Instructional Coach, she provides support to teachers and students in the classroom and collaborates with teachers and principals during PLC meetings. Shelly also serves as the district's coordinator for gifted and talented services. She also has responsibilities for the district's compliance of Title I and High Quality Prekindergarten programs.
In her life outside of school, Shelly's priority is her family. She and her husband, Judd, live in Caviness, Texas near family members. They enjoy spending time at home and their hobby of owning a small herd of cattle. Shelly and Judd have a daughter, son-in-law, and two beautiful grandsons that live in Sparks, Nevada. She takes every opportunity available to fly west. She loves to read books and has quite the collection in her home. Shelly considers herself a lifelong learner and she has a goal to learn something new every year. This year, she is learning to sew and has discovered the benefits of learning from others through YouTube videos.
Jodie Ingram is the Instructional Technology Specialist for North Lamar ISD. She is starting her 26th year in Education, 21st year at North Lamar and 13th year in Instructional Technology. She has her Bachelors in Science in Computer Information Systems (East Texas State University ‘96) and Masters of Science in Training & Development (TAMU-Commerce ‘99).
In the classroom, she has taught a variety of computer related courses including Computer Applications, Computer Programming and Office Education Classes. As the Instructional Technology Specialist, Jodie trains NLISD teachers on new software they will be using in their classroom. She also co-teaches with teachers as they implement new technology into their classrooms. Recently, she has developed a passion for Blended Learning and how powerful this method of teaching is for students. Blended Learning has shifted her goal from teaching teachers how to use technology, to how to create the best learning environment for the students. She also has responsibility for the purchasing and inventory management of textbooks and other instructional materials, and maintaining various accounts for software and online programs used by teachers and students.
Outside of work, Jodie and her husband, Greg, are busy raising 2 boys. Mason just graduated from North Lamar in 2020 and is pursuing a career as a Firefighter/Paramedic. Kaleb is a Sophomore at North Lamar and competes in Cross Country, Basketball and Baseball. The family loves spending time outdoors and are avid hunters. Jodie also loves reading, especially crime mysteries, and has been know to sneak a book into the hunting stand or bass boat.
Ella McLaughlin grew up on a farm in Kansas, the youngest of five daughters. In 1986 she graduated from Bethany College, Lindsborg, Kansas with a Bachelor of Arts in Math Education. She began her teaching career that fall at Wyandotte High School in Kansas City, Kansas. Five years later, her and her husband moved to Hutchinson, Kansas, where she taught at Hutchinson High School for two years. From 1993 – 2003 she took a break from full time teaching to raise three sons, Adam, Trent and Nate. In 1997 she completed a Master’s in Education Counseling degree from Wichita State University.
In 2003 she returned to teaching full time at Hutchinson High School, where she remained until 2014. During that time, she completed a Master’s in Teaching degree from Friends University, Wichita, Kansas. In 2014 she moved to Paris, Texas to be with her husband, John. They had a long distance marriage for five years before she moved. She began her Texas teaching career at Paris High School. In 2016 she came to North Lamar.
During her teaching tenure, she taught math courses ranging from General Math to College Algebra. She taught regular as well as honors classes. She enjoyed the relationships she built with her students and the ongoing challenge to improve her teaching to reach more students.
In 2017 she was hired as the Math Instructional Coach for North Lamar ISD. She has enjoyed shifting her focus from teaching students to helping other teachers become better at their craft. The best part of the job has been developing relationships with other math teachers in the district and seeing the level of commitment and love they have for their students.
In her spare time she enjoys flower gardening, reading, and spending time with her husband at their home in Powderly. Her sons are now grown and live in other states. However, John has two sons, Eric and Michael who have families in the area. They enjoy spending time with them and especially with their grandchildren, Owen and Mia who visit them often.
Mark Russell graduated from North Lamar as an honor graduate in 1993. He then went to McMurry University and graduated Summa Cum Laude with Honors in English and theater and was named Outstanding English Graduate and earned three writing scholarships while attending undergraduate school.. He continued his studies at Texas A&M--Commerce and earned over twenty hours of theater graduate hours. During his studies there, he was named outstanding theater graduate student, won the Debut Scholarship Award from TETA, and was published in Theatre Southwest for his essay “The Religious Issues in the Early Plays of Lanford Wilson.” He also placed second for the Oscar G. Brockett scholastic theater essay contest for his essay “Buchner’s Woyzeck Influence on Brecht’s Baal.”
Mark came back to North Lamar in 1999 to begin his teaching career in English. During his time at North Lamar, he has taught all levels of high school English, including English I & II pre-AP and English III AP. He also served as one of the theater directors for fourteen years. During his tenure as theater director, he helped lead his cast and crew to three state one-act play contests, winning the silver medal in 2009 and the state championship in 2010. Mark currently serves as a certified one-act play adjudicator and contest manager.
As an instructional coach, Mark’s goal is to support the North Lamar staff to create rigorous and engaging lessons to enhance student learning.
Mark has been married to his high school sweetheart, Tonya, for 23 years. He and his wife have five wonderful children, and they just adopted a beautiful baby beagle. He enjoys reading, writing, painting, cooking, watching films, and mostly, being with his family.
His completed summer reading list includes: Carson McCormack’s The Road, Laurie Halse Anderson’s Chains, Forge and Ashes, Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, Richard Peck’s Along Way from Chicago, Carl Hiaasen’s Hoot, Robert Cormier’s The Chocolate War and I am the Cheese, Catlin Tucker’s Blended Learning in Practice, Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein’s They Say/ISay, and Laurie Halse Anderson’s Fever: 1793.
Currently reading: Ted Dekker’s Three and the Book of Acts.
Next up: Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns.