Construction to Begin on Walter Hill Outdoor STEAM Classroom, Learning Center to Honor Legacy of Beloved Teacher

May 17, 2024 at 12:10 am by WGNS News

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Officials from Walter Hill Elementary School, Rutherford County Schools and Republic Services will gather on May 16 to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new outdoor STEAM classroom. Last year, Republic Services announced a $120,000 grant to the Miss Katie Woodie Foundation to construct the facility at Walter Hill in honor of Woodie, a beloved teacher who passed away suddenly in 2021.

The Miss Katie Woodie Foundation is dedicated to lessening the financial burden on teachers, who often purchase classroom essentials out of their own pockets, by providing items that facilitate learning and fun. The Republic Services funding will help kickstart Walter Hill’s STEAM accreditation program and pay for the construction of the new classroom.


“Walter Hill Elementary is in our backyard, and we are always grateful for the opportunity to support their work and curriculum,” said Mike Classen, General Manager of Middle Point Landfill. “This classroom will cultivate a new learning experience for students and teachers, and we are honored to be a part of that.”

“It is our hope that this new classroom will remove barriers and open doors to new areas of learning that our students have yet to experience at Walter Hill,” said Mrs. Laura Heath, Principal of Walter Hill Elementary. “We are grateful for the partnership of Republic Services and their contribution to the legacy of the beloved teacher whose foundation has made this endeavor possible.”

About Miss Katie Woodie Foundation - The Miss Katie Woodie Foundation was founded in 2021 to honor Miss Kathleen “Katie” M. Woodie. Woodie cared deeply about others, and especially children, which led her to become a teacher. Woodie graduated from Oakwood High School in Dayton, Ohio in 2011 and went on to the University of Dayton, where she earned a B.A. in Education in 2015. After graduation, she moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where she taught kindergarten and first and third grades. Her last two years teaching were in Murfreesboro, Tennessee at Walter Hill Elementary School. Walter Hill was very special to Woodie. All the co-workers became her family away from home. She loved the Walter Hill community and had a special bond with all of her beloved students. Knowing what Walter Hill and Oakwood School meant to Woodie, the foundation’s goal is to support the teachers who give so much of their own time and resources into making their teaching environment the best it can be for their student population.

About Republic Services Charitable Foundation - The Republic Services Charitable Foundation helps strengthen the communities where Republic Services customers and employees live and work through volunteerism, monetary donations and in-kind services. Through its National Neighborhood Promise® Program, the Foundation supports nonprofit organizations, programs and projects that help promote sustainable neighborhoods. The Foundation helps support Republic Services’ 2030 Sustainability Goal to positively impact 45 million people.

About Republic Services - Republic Services, Inc. is a leader in the environmental services industry. Through its subsidiaries, the Company provides customers with the most complete set of products and services, including recycling, solid waste, special waste, hazardous waste and field services. Republic’s industry-leading commitments to advance circularity and support decarbonization are helping deliver on its vision to partner with customers to create a more sustainable world.

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