Tara Hood can’t explain why, but she’s known since a young age that she would have a career in education.

“I always knew that I wanted to be a teacher,” said Tara. “I just knew it. It was like that was what I was destined to do.”

Tara graduated from Pleasant Valley High School in 1998 and Jacksonville State University in 2002. She received a master’s from JSU in 2006 and Ed.S in 2010. She also earned her National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification in 2007.

She has taught first, second, and third grade. She’s taught at Kitty Stone and at Pleasant Valley Elementary.

Tara is in her third year of working for JSU’s Alabama Math Science Technology Initiative. As a science specialist, her job is to go into schools in northeast Alabama and support teachers of science and engineering. She also works with and trains the pre service teachers at JSU.

“We meet with teachers and discuss how we can best help them as a support team,” said Tara. “Everything we do is hands on and inquiry based learning. We integrate math, literacy, language, and technology into science lessons. The kids love it. I’ve met so many amazing teachers and learn so much from them. The best part of my job is the excitement and love of learning expressed by the students.”

Tara and her husband, Brad, also a teacher, have been married 15 years. They met when she was a high school sophomore and Brad had just graduated from Ohatchee High School. They attended Tara’s junior and senior proms together.

They have two daughters and a son. Emma, 11, is in seventh grade at Pleasant Valley, and Gracie, 10, is in fifth grade at Pleasant Valley. Greyson, 3, stays with Tara’s aunt, Tina Bryant, while his parents work.

Tara’s parents are Vicki (Pritchett) and Dwight Roper. Her brothers are Ashley and Clint Roper.

The Hoods attend Hillcrest Baptist Church where Tara volunteers in the pre-school department.

Tara participated in track and cross country in high school. In her junior year, her team won a state championship. That introduced her to a hobby that is a big part of her life today.

She’s ran several half marathons, including the Mercedes half marathon for the past two years. She and Brad recently completed the Barbarian Challenge at Noccalula Falls in Gadsden, which included a five and a half mile trail run with 12 obstacles. Tara finished in an hour and 24 minutes, and Brad finished in an hour and eight minutes. They are members of the Anniston Runners Club, ride bicycles and have recently begun to do cross fit at the new Crossfit Thelo.

“I’m used to a lot of cardio training, but cross fit is more strength building,” she said. “I’m hoping it will give me a good balance.”

Tara likes to appliqué and monogram. She has an appliqué machine which makes it convenient to design clothing and other items for her family. She enjoys reading historical fiction and Beth Moore Bible studies.

Tara said she’s always liked to cook, but is thankful for her mother who did all the cooking while she and Brad were in college and working.

“I have all kinds of recipes, and I do love to play in the kitchen,” she said. “We depended on my mother a lot while we were going to college and working full time. She still cooks pancakes and bacon for us on Sunday mornings.”

Contact Margaret at pollya922@gmail.com