Monday, October 25, 2021

Who is teaching our children?

Third Grade teachers in the media center from left: Caitlin Smith, Paulette DeFazio, Anne Fleming, Michel Krohn, Deborah Lambert, Nancy Garousi and Cheryl Reinke. Photo by Val Simon

Third Grade teachers in the media center from left: Caitlin Smith, Paulette DeFazio, Anne Fleming, Michel Krohn, Deborah Lambert, Nancy Garousi and Cheryl Reinke. Photo by Val Simon

By Val Simon

The holiday break is over and it is time to get back into a rigorous schedule full force. Tommie Barfield puts an emphasis on the importance of reading. Third grade is the first year students become familiar with what is commonly referred to as ‘Sunshine State Books’. The Sunshine State Young Reader Award program is sponsored by the Florida Department of Education. The program is considered one of the best motivational programs for reading in the country. The goal of TBE, and the Florida Department of Education, is to nurture lifelong readers.

Each year, the SSYRA chooses 15 books suitable for elementary school level readers and another 15 for middle school students. In March or April, after completing at least three books on the list, children can vote for their favorite SSYRA book. For most, it is their first hands-on experience with an official election process using voting machines.

Of course all this is just one small part of the regular curriculum. Civil Rights are a classroom focal point right now coinciding with the holiday celebration for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Special projects and assignments surrounding Dr. King’s life bring this important part of our country’s history to life.

Anne Fleming – has a BA in Elementary and Special Education from Kuntztown University. She has fifteen years experience, three years teaching the second grade and twelve years teaching the third grade. In addition to spending time with her family and friends, Anne enjoys spinning classes at the YMCA, biking, going to the beach, travelling and reading a good book. Anne is married to Matt and they have three sons. Joey attends Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Danny is a freshman at Babson College in Massachusetts and Jimmy is a high school sophomore. Anne also has a beagle named Maggie. One of the most unique experiences Anne brings to her classroom is the year she spent in Ninghai, China with her family. Anne feels fortunate to teach with such awesome people at a fantastic school. Her motto is to be kind. She feels it is important for each child to work at his or her personal best and to figure out strategies that compliment his or her learning style. It is her job to guide, encourage and challenge them to reach their personal goals. Anne says her students never cease to amaze her!

Nancy Garousi – Nancy attended Trenton State College earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education. She received her Master’s in Administration and has a National Board of Teaching Certification. Nancy has taught first, second, third and fifth grades for a total of 22 years. She is a huge NY Yankees fan and enjoys exercising, running and reading. She is married to Tom Garousi. They have two children, Tom, 15 years old and Arianna, 12 years old, as well as a golden retriever. Nancy’s motto is: Personal Best is a Must! Nancy feels it is her job to see that her students grow as individuals both academically, as well as socially. She believes in instruction that is meaningful to her students and tries to engage them with thinking and doing. She believes she has the best job in the world with the most incredible group of people, supportive community members, and most importantly amazing students who inspire her daily to work at her personal best.

Cheryl Reinke – attended St. Scholastica and has her degree in Elementary Education and Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction. Cheryl has taught for a total of 15 years in kindergarten through fifth grade classes. Cheryl enjoys reading, walking and travelling. She has added a new member to her family: Lilly, a 15 week old teacup Yorkie. Lilly is tiny, weighing less than one pound! Cheryl loves what she does and can’t imagine doing anything else. Her motto is “We are the best, forget about the rest!”

Deb Lambert – graduated from Kansas State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education, she has a reading endorsement, an ELL endorsement, Mimio-Master certification and is a Collier County Public School District Teacher-Leader. Deb has taught third grade for five years, fourth/fifth for two years, MAI (3-5) for two years and 5/6 for two years. Her hobbies are reading, cooking and travelling. Deb has three grown children, two boys and a girl and has two children of the four-legged kind: a King Charles spaniel and a shitzu, both are 13 years old. Deb and her daughter are representatives for Miche Bags. While raising three children, she was the manager of several fine clothing stores and the Director of a Thomas Kincaid Gallery. She once danced an entire 64 hour dance marathon for charity: Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Jerry’s Kids. Deb believes all children can learn and each child has his or her own style and pace. Deb puts her heart into finding each student’s learning style and providing a classroom environment where her students can nurture their unique skills. Her class theme is to strive to be the best they can be each and every day by showing grace to others, sharing and demonstrating self-control.

Michel Krohn – graduated from Fitchburg State College, Fitchburg, Massachusetts where she has a dual B.S. degree in Elementary Education and Special Education. Michel has taught for a total of 20 years in Collier County schools including Village Oaks, Manatee and Lely Elementary. She has taught pre-K through third, as well as being a Reading Resource Teacher. Her hobbies are reading, camping and cooking. She was married in October to Steven Krohn. She has two sons, Thomas (14), Matthew (12) and stepson Hunter Krohn (10). Her number one classroom rule is RESPECT! She believes all children need to be shown the tools to help themselves become successful lifelong learners.

Caitlin Smith – Caitlin attended Valencia Community College before receiving her BA in Elementary Education at Florida Gulf Coast University. Prior to coming to TBE she did internships with Parkside Elementary and Lely Elementary. She is a first generation college graduate. She has two older brothers and a younger sister besides her parents. Hobbies include tennis, fishing, drawing and making jewelry.

Paulette Defazio – Paulette has a BS in Business from Bryant University and attended Colorado University in Boulder to complete the requirements to earn her teaching certification. She taught school in Estes Park, Colorado for seven years: fifth grade for five years and two years as the Technology teacher. Paulette served five years in the army as an Intelligence Officer. She loves adventurous travel, exercising and cooking. She has one daughter in her second year at California Polytechnic University studying enology and viticulture. This is her first year in Florida. While she enjoys the climate, she missed snow over Christmas. Paulette says teaching is rewarding because she gets to teach future leaders while learning something new from them every day!

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