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MEET THE TEACHER: GET TO KNOW 5 NEW UPPER KEYS FACES

For the 2021-22 school year, the Upper Keys has fresh recruits to teach our public school students. We thought you’d like to meet a few of our new elementary school/middle school teachers. One educator has lived in our island chain for just two weeks; another, 15 years. And most have received their college degrees in Florida. Let’s give a hearty welcome to these new faces.

BREE BAGWELL

Reading Intervention Teacher, Plantation Key School

Where did you get your degree?  University of Florida (Go Gators!).

How long have you lived in the Keys? Three months.

Why did you decide to become a teacher? I did not have teachers I connected with throughout school, and unfortunately, I did not like learning because of this. I want to be the teacher who creates educational, emotional and social victories for students that inspire them to love learning.

How would you describe your teaching style? Fun and collaborative!

CRICKET MAGEE

Paraprofessional with Kindergarten/First Grade, Treasure Village Montessori

Where did you get your degree?I have been taking classes at the College of the Florida Keys towards my teaching degree.

How long have you lived in the Keys? I have lived in the Keys for 15 wonderful years now, originally hailed from Edgerton, Kansas. Go Chiefs! 

Why did you decide to become a teacher? I am so excited about my new position. I have two brilliant little girls: Serenity, age 5, and Aria, age 3. Watching them grow and learn and being a part of that is awe-inspiring. How amazing would it be to be a part of that for many other children in our community. Teaching and watching our children learn and grow is one of life’s most rewarding opportunities. 

How would you describe your teaching style? I believe teachers should have a growth mindset and always be looking for opportunities to be educated and educate others.

TRACI SCHOOR

The Rays, Third/Fourth Grade Class, Ocean Studies Charter School

Where did you get your degree? I received a bachelor’s from the University of Central Florida. I’m Montessori Certified in Elementary I from the American Montessori Society. I have a master’s in STEM Education Leadership from American College of Education.

How long have you lived in the Keys? Two weeks.

Why did you decide to become a teacher? To help spread Montessori and peace education as well as provide equal education opportunities to all children.

How would you describe your teaching style? I believe in a hands-on approach to teaching and experiential learning, where students are able to apply their knowledge to real-world problem solving and solutions. I also aim to include environmental and cosmic education in the classroom in order to foster growth mindsets and life-long learners. 

SHYARA LARA

The Sailfish, Sixth Grade Class, Ocean Studies Charter School

Where did you get your degree? I have a bachelor’s in biology from the University of Miami and a master’s in math education from Nova Southeastern University.

How long have you lived in the Keys? I moved to the Keys in November from Miami. We absolutely love it here!

Why did you decide to become a teacher? This will be my 19th year teaching. I became a teacher so I can share my love of learning with others. This is the type of school I always dreamed of working at.

How would you describe your teaching style? My teaching style is student centered. I will guide my students while encouraging them to take a more active role in their learning process.

TIM O’NEIL

6th Grade American History, Plantation Key School

Where did you get your degree? I received my degree from FIU.

How long have you lived in the Keys? Off and on for 30 years. I first moved to the Keys in 1990 and graduated from Coral Shores High School. This is my third stint in the Keys. I’ve been back a little over three years.

Why did you decide to become a teacher? It runs in the family. My mother taught at KLS, and my father at Homestead High School. His father was a superintendent in NY. My wife teaches 7th-grade science, also at PKS. I came to the field late, after a couple of decades in hospitality.

How would you describe your teaching style? Very hands on. I am a big believer in Socratic discussion. I think the more students talk about the material, the better it sticks.

RITA LEONARDI

Music Teacher, Treasure Village Montessori 

Where did you get your degree? I’m a 25-year teaching veteran, with degrees from Christopher Newport University and Old Dominion University, both in Virginia.

How long have you lived in the Keys? I’ve been in Islamorada only 3 weeks, and I have enjoyed meeting new faces and seeing the sights. 

Why did you decide to become a teacher? I believe every child has been given the gift of music and singing, and it is my job to help them develop their skills and abilities. How would you describe your teaching style?  It is my job to instill a love of music in all of its genres.

The post MEET THE TEACHER: GET TO KNOW 5 NEW UPPER KEYS FACES appeared first on Florida Keys Weekly Newspapers.

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