Tara Kelley graduated from Summit High School in 2007.
After graduation she went to school at Oklahoma Christian University, where she received a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a minor in Spanish. She graduated in December 2011 and moved back to Summit County.
"I was ready to come home," she said.
By the end of January, Kelley was doing substitute work within Summit School District. Although her degree work was in early childhood and elementary education, she found herself working with middle school students, teaching Spanish. Though at first she was a little hesitant to work with older kids, she ended up enjoying herself.
"Really, it was amazing. I loved them," she said.
Kelley applied for various openings in the school district before finally landing her current job, teaching preschool at Summit Cove Elementary. Unlike other preschools in the county, the one at Summit Cove is a full-day program, but Kelley enjoys her time with the young children.
"I have a really great group of kids," she said. "You can see a change in a lot of them (since the start of the year). It's fun to see, especially thinking back to the first days of school."
Kelley grew up in Summit County, attending Summit County Christian School before transferring to Summit High School in eighth grade. She participated in Spanish Club and the Spanish Honor Society and was active in dance and figure skating. She traveled to Spain during her sophomore year and then to Mexico City as a senior. These positive experiences have led her to consider spending some time teaching abroad as well.
Unlike many of her peers, Kelley had a pretty good idea about what she wanted to do after graduation. Her mother works for the school district as a Spanish language translator, and she has fond memories of her past teachers. When asked about her main inspiration, she said, "My kindergarten teacher. She was awesome. I just always wanted to be like her (and) I guess now I kind of am!"