The backbone of every hospital is its staff — the people who dedicate their days to ensuring that recovery becomes a reality for each and every patient.
After one of our Education Coordinators, Mindy Elliott, was named the 2015 Durham Public Schools Hospital School Teacher of the Year, we decided she would be the perfect candidate for the first interview in our new blog series – Collaborative Conversations.
Mindy joined Veritas Collaborative in August of 2012 and quickly became a core member of our Clinical Team. We asked her to share a little about herself — her hobbies, what she does at Veritas, and something most people may not know about her. Here’s what she had to say:
Name: Mindy Elliott
Position: Education Coordinator
Years as a teacher: 8 full-time; 4 part-time
First job: Engraving plastic tags for my father’s company in California
What do you like to do for fun outside of work?
I love heading to the beach or any aquarium/zoo with my two beautiful daughters and husband.
What is your favorite book?
It’s tough to pick one. To teach: The Giver by Lois Lowry. For comfort: The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan. I also love most biographies, especially of strong women.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Without a doubt, the people I get to work with each day make my job incredibly special. As a teacher, I have always enjoyed making an impact on my students’ lives, but at Veritas, I am inspired by the patients each day, and I get the unique opportunity to collaborate with clinicians, parents and schools from across the country to help best guide the students’ academic paths. As a hospital teacher, I am able to see the whole adolescent and make recommendations to schools back home in order to best serve each student’s needs. The entire team at Veritas is devoted to our patients and their recovery; it is a special work environment for me to teach and advocate for the students.
Mindy’s professionalism and supportive nature are evident daily as she focuses on our students. She tirelessly cares for and supports the adolescents at Veritas while serving on committees and being a dedicated wife and mom. I feel blessed to have Mindy guide me through this special teaching position.
– Sara Amos, Education Coordinator
What is your background, and why did you choose to work as an educator in a hospital setting?
Teaching adolescents has always been my passion. I taught English in traditional classrooms in California and North Carolina before making the change to a hospital setting in 2012. In the traditional classroom, I was intrigued by the unique needs of my gifted students, so I completed a certification program at Duke University in Academically and Intellectually Gifted Education. The skills I learned in that program helped to prepare me for the needs of our patients at Veritas. In addition, I have always felt a pull to hospitals; as an adolescent, I volunteered in my local hospital on a regular basis bringing small dogs and puppies to visit the patients — my take on pet therapy way back then! The combination of my training and life experiences led me to this unique teaching position at Veritas, where I get to work with students one on one and help them make the transitions between their school back home and the hospital setting.
What is a day like in the life of an Education Coordinator?
My time is generally split three ways: I work with the students in our school groups, I collaborate with our Clinical Team, and I prepare and assess work for the students. With each day brings a variety of experiences. In one school group, I could work with multiple students engaged in curriculum including US History facts, elementary division, research paper writing, and biology vocabulary. With each student, I remain focused on planning for the eventual transition back to school at home, and I keep that eventual transition in mind as I collaborate with the student’s school, parents, and clinicians.
What is something people might not know about you?
I was a White House Intern during the Clinton Administration. I worked in the Office of Public Liaison organizing constituent outreach events at the White House with Cabinet Members, the President, Vice President and First Lady. I worked predominantly with women’s health and disabilities issues. The internship was part of my graduate school experience.