Renita Upshur

Renita Upshur


My personal teaching philosophy is built upon a basic concept – safety. The idea of safety is multifaceted. Real teaching and learning can be achieved once a student feels physically safe, mentally safe, and emotionally safe. Coming to school and knowing no harm will come to them, provides a peace of mind. A student being in such a state opens a mental space for them to direct their focus on learning. Students will feel that their thoughts are heard and accepted. Tomorrow’s leaders need to be able to see and understand multiple perspectives for success. Students will know that not only do I care about them and their learning, but that their peers also care. Students will have the space to be risk takers, to know that it is ok to try new things and to learn through trials. Taking care to establish all levels of safety provides a bridge of trust between the teacher and student. In the end, the classroom environment is so rich with caring and understanding that all the students begin to feel that they can achieve anything independently and co-dependently.

Professional Background

I graduated from The Ohio State University… GO BUCKS!! I earned my Bachelors in Human Development and Family Science and my Masters in Elementary Education. After school I moved to the Woodbridge area to be near family. After teaching fourth grade in Prince William County for five years, I decided to move to Arlington to broaden and sharpen my teaching skills. I taught fourth grade for another five years while in Arlington Public Schools. This year will be my tenth year of teaching and my first of teaching first grade.

Personal Interests

What I LOVE to do is read! It’s nice to escape from it all once in a while. I also enjoy meeting up with friends, painting pottery, practicing yoga, playing softball and traveling. I am the Athletic Director of the Ohio State Alumni DC Board. I am able to stay connected to my alumni but also further my love for sports with my peers.

Literary Connection

One of my talents is telling stories and reading books aloud to the students. It’s quite the production. My entire body is involved, including facial expressions, different voices, and moving around the room. Roald Dahl’s imagination is the perfect platform to practice all of my voice acting. The BFG is one of my favorites because in the tale, a person who is seemingly and inherently “bad” turns out to be the hero! He’s a diamond in the rough and at first it is hard to see all the good in the gigantic protagonist, but through Roald Dahl’s inventive words and outlandish events, we are revealed the true nature of The BFG. The poor language and attitude of the giant in contrast to the meek and small girl he kidnaps is the most fun to play with and helps invite students to play with the books they are reading. I want to foster a love for reading since it is a passion of mine. What better way to do that than to show the students how much fun they can have with books?


  • Mathematics - Grade 1
  • Language Arts - Grade 1
  • Homeroom - Grade 1
  • Science - Grade 1
  • Reading - Grade 1
  • Social Studies - Grade 1