Meet the Team

 

Ginny Rushing

Ginny Rushing

Owner & Lead Teacher, Georgia

Ginny was born in North Carolina and raised in Kentucky and Ohio, before returning to North Carolina to attend high school and college. After earning bachelor’s degrees in elementary education and psychology from Meredith College, Ginny taught elementary school in North Carolina and Texas. Ginny ultimately landed in Georgia and began SparkPoint Innovations, the company which brings the Big Canyon Balloon and Orbit Earth Expo in-school science programs to schools in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Minnesota. Ginny is married and lives in Alpharetta, Georgia with her two sons, two stepsons, and an ill-behaved geriatric beagle. In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors, hiking, and reading.

Melanie Caldwell

Melanie Caldwell

OH & KY Regional Manager & Lead Teacher: Orbit Earth Expo

Melanie spent the majority of her childhood in Ohio and northern Kentucky, graduating from Northern Kentucky University with a Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education and a Master’s degree in Elementary Education. She has spent the past 20 years caring for and educating children ages one to 14 and is proud to continue igniting a passion for learning in children through Orbit Earth Expo. Melanie lives in northern Kentucky with her husband of 23 years, one of her sons, and a menagerie of pets. She is addicted to Frisch’s iced tea, enjoys cooking, gardening, being outdoors, reading, and playing board games with her family.

Tracy Custer

Tracy Custer

NC & SC Lead Teacher & Regional Manager: Orbit Earth Expo

Tracy is a lifelong resident of North Carolina, growing up in and around Winston-Salem. Upon her graduation from North Forsyth High School, she was awarded the NC Teaching Fellows scholarship. She attended Elon College, earning her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. She began her teaching career in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system. During eighteen years in the public schools, Tracy worked in five schools and two school systems. She spent five years as a school librarian and earned her Master’s degree in Library & Information Science from UNC-Greensboro. By far, her favorite part of her career has been working for SparkPoint Innovations. Tracy is married and has two teenagers, one cat, one dog, and one bearded dragon.

Catherine Walker

Catherine Walker

MN Regional Manager & Lead Teacher: Orbit Earth Expo

Catherine Walker’s family settled in southeast Iowa in time for her to finish growing up. She graduated with distinction from Iowa State University with a B.S. in mathematics, completing the teacher education program. Catherine has provided freelance bookkeeping, office management, and communications support for local small businesses, including editing two books on international business communication. Her teaching experience includes ten years instructing Earth Science, Physical Science and Geometry courses at a homeschool cooperative as well as classes for Kaplan ACT Test Prep. Catherine and her husband of 25 years have three children; both college-age daughters are pursuing STEM degrees. If she had her way, Catherine would have a lot more time to go camping and hiking. She also enjoys collecting rocks, cooking, reading, and playing with her bearded dragon.

 

Lydia White

Lydia White

Texas Regional Manager & Lead Teacher: Orbit Earth Expo

Lydia was born and raised in Abilene, Texas. She graduated with a BA from the University of North Texas and received her teaching certificate from St. Mary’s University. While she was pursuing her teaching certification, she worked for SeaWorld in the Education department as their Sleepover Manager. Lydia taught third grade for nine years for Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas. At that point, she decided to become a stay-at-home mom to her three children. She enjoys hanging out with her kids, her husband, and their dog.

Holly Girten

Holly Girten

Georgia Lead Teacher, Orbit Earth Expo

Holly started her teaching career in Denver, Colorado after attending the University of Northern Colorado and obtaining a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education. She taught First Grade for five years specializing in Math & Science. After meeting her husband and enjoying lots of Colorado activities, they relocated to Atlanta, GA with their sweet mutt, Tucker. Holly taught 2nd grade for three years while working on her Masters Degree of Teaching and Learning. Now she enjoys coming into schools and sharing her Passion about science with studens in a Big Memorable way with Orbit Earth Expo. She currently lives in Brookhaven with her one year old daughter Emma, Tucker the dog, and husband Brian. In her free time she likes trying new healthy recipes, hiking, and planning new adventurous travels. 

Erin Kleine

Erin Kleine

Texas Lead Teacher: Big Canyon Balloon

Erin spent the first 6 years of her life in Charleston, SC but has been a Texas resident ever since. After graduating from Concordia University in Austin in 1997, she became a part of the AISD family as a teacher at Joslin Elementary School. During her 10 years with the school she taught 1st, 2nd, and 4th grade and then later served as the campus reading specialist and literacy coach. During this time she also earned her NBCT in Literacy and Reading development. Throughout her college years and teaching career Erin spent her summers in Medina, Texas serving on the senior & administrative staff for Echo Hill Ranch summer camp. After leaving the teaching profession to begin her own family Erin was the co-owner in Socks on the Rooster a family concessions business that catered to events & festivals in central Texas. Now a stay at home mom of 4 in San Antonio, Erin is excited to be back in an educator role as a Spark Point presenter.

Bailey Anderson

Bailey Anderson

Lead Teacher, Georgia Big Canyon Balloon

Bailey was born in Wisconsin and lived in many places growing up including Connecticut, Singapore and Minnesota. She attended Clemson University, earning her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. She began her teaching career in Alpharetta, Georgia. She continued moving around in her adult life and lived in Virginia Beach, Savannah and back to Minnesota before returning to Georgia. 

Bailey currently lives in Cumming with her husband, three sons and two dogs. 

When she isn’t teaching, you can find her whipping something up in the kitchen, cheering on her boys at their sporting events or curling up with a cup of coffee catching up on the latest episode of This Is Us. 

Amy Cooley

Amy Cooley

Georgia Support Teacher: Orbit Earth Expo & Big Canyon Balloon

Amy was born in Tennessee, spent most her youth in Alabama, and then graduated high school in Texas.  She graduated from the University of Oklahoma. She began her teaching career with Sylvan Learning Centers working with students ages 6 to 18 on math and reading. Wanting to be in the classroom, she then taught middle school math in Texas and Maryland. She also taught college math in North Carolina. Amy joined SparkPoint Innovations 2 years ago. She now lives in Cumming, GA with her husband and three children. In her free time, she enjoys watching her kids in their activities, college football, movies, and antagonizing her cat, Mavis, with a laser pointer. 

Laurie Henry

Laurie Henry

Creator: Big Canyon Balloon & Orbit Earth Expo

Laurie Henry is a 20+ year teaching veteran, having taught preschool through high school science, as well as spending time as a district elementary science coordinator. Laurie was named District Teacher of the Year in 2006 for McKinney ISD, and received awards including radio station KLAK Teacher of the Month and MetLife Technology Teacher of the Month. In 2008, Laurie formed Trinity Science Solutions LLC utilizing her patented and unique inflated teaching models. The Big Canyon Balloon, a 15ft tall, 40ft wide inflated canyon model has wowed students to new levels of understanding of earth science while Orbit Earth Expo, her space science program, highlights a 16ft realistic globe and 4ft moon to recreate the relationships between the earth, moon, and sun. With her kid speak program curriculum, Laurie impacts students across Texas in a way that makes these difficult concepts come to life, leaving a lasting, score raising impression. Laurie also spends time leading professional development, creating challenging science games, and other science related pursuits. She is a wife to Joe, a mother to Cory and Cody, a watercolor and alcohol ink artist, and a student of nature.

Katie Ezell

Katie Ezell

SparkPoint Marketing Support

Katie was born and raised in North Carolina. She graduated from Appalachian State University with a bachelor’s degree in Geography.  After working in Geographic Information Systems, Engineering, and Cadastral Mapping fields for 13 years, she now lives in Conover, NC with her husband and son. Katie loves football, hiking, and taking her son on fun adventures.