The town of Quincy is full of young people who have passed through the doors of Laurie Norton’s classrooms. Whether she was teaching at Pioneer Elementary or Mountain View Elementary. Teaching youth is her passion, but it took many life events to point her in the right direction to find her niche.
“I wanted to go to college but no one in my family had gone to college,” said Norton. “Teaching kids seemed fun and natural.”
Norton grew up in Culver City, Calif. Her father was a machinist at Rockwell, a rocket-testing facility. He was a tool and die maker for rockets used on space shuttles. There were two high schools in Culver City, and Norton’s future husband, Ron, attended the other so they never met until after they both graduated.
Norton met Ron at a Bible study at Biola College. She later attended Cal State Northridge for three years and then Moore Park College. The couple married and Ron found a job as a youth pastor at Reseda Baptist. Laurie worked as a bank teller.
After a move to Rialto, Norton stayed home with their oldest daughter, Heather, and then welcomed their sons, Jacob and Matthew.
Norton moved to Endicott, N.Y. for four years, where she ran a nonprofit group called Youth For Christ.
“It was the birthplace of IBM,” said Norton. “The economy went down as IBM went bankrupt.”
Norton then moved with her family to Phoenix, where she worked as a merchandiser for the Nabisco company.
“We had an opportunity in 1995 to move to Pendleton, Ore., when Ron got a job there as a youth pastor,” she said. “I went to Eastern Oregon University in La Grande, Ore., to get my master’s in teaching there.”
Norton’s friend, Renie Wilson, inspired her and encouraged Norton to go back to school.
“She said ‘If God wants you to be a teacher He will help you do it,’ ” Norton recalled. “She was my inspiration.”
Some time later, the church in Pendleton was looking for a senior pastor for the Pendleton Free Methodist Church and chose Scott Little of Quincy, whereby they made a switch and offered the associate pastor position at Quincy Free Methodist to Ron.
Upon arrival to the Quincy Valley, Norton began substitute teaching and landed a long-term substitute job in George.
Carol Carlton hired her to work as a second grade teacher at Mountain View in 2000. A few years later, she transferred to Pioneer Elementary, where she taught second and third grades until the recently completed school year, where she went back to Mountain View Elementary to teach third grade with the new neighborhood school design.
Norton loves serving people. In fact, she went to Belarus in Russia to help deliver supplies to orphans years ago.
She and Ron are longtime members of Faith Community Church. She enjoys helping out in the nursery.
Norton also plays the flute. In fact, she has played in three musicals produced by Quincy Valley Allied Arts. “It’s fun to be a part of something like that,” she added.
In her spare time, she enjoys her grandchildren, Everett and Nakoda. She loves playing with her two dogs, Selah and Shelby. Shelby is a blue heeler mix, and Selah is a purebred collie. In fact, Selah’s grandfather appeared before in the role as Lassie.