A Special Series Interviewing the 2021 Teachers of the Year & School-Related Employees of the Year
Suncoast Elementary School Teacher of the Year
Rita Morrongiello, Exceptional Student Education (ESE)
What inspired you to become a teacher?
I have a brother with Autism and I remember the positive impact many of his teachers had on his academic and social success, so that has always inspired me to want to teach children with special needs.
Where are you from and what is your educational background/experience?
I am originally from Queens, NY, but I’ve lived in Florida since 1987. I received my Master’s Degree in Exceptional Student Education at UCF. I began my teaching career in Orlando in 2000. I have taught students with Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities in both middle and elementary school. I also worked as an ESE Inclusion teacher. I am currently teaching in a K-5 ESE Resource/Self-Contained classroom.
What is your most memorable moment as a teacher?
My most memorable moment as a teacher is when I had a former student reach out to me to thank me for helping him and to tell me how well he was doing. It was wonderful to hear how much teachers impact the lives of students even years after we’ve taught them.
What is a challenge that you’ve faced as a teacher and how did you solve it?
Teaching students in different grade levels with varying ability levels at the same time can be very challenging. With the support of my administration, I was able to set up a schedule that meets the needs of my students and allows my paraprofessionals and I to provide them with the instruction and support needed to be successful.
Suncoast Elementary School-Related Employee of the Year
What do you enjoy about your job?
First and foremost the students make my day. They make me laugh and
smile. My coworkers at Suncoast are my family. We are always there for
each other. My Administration is supportive and encourages all of my ideas.
How long have you worked for the school district?
I have worked for the school district for 16 years.
How does your job impact students and what do you do to enhance the educational experience?
I impact students by making sure that they have what they need in order to have a successful day. Whether it is a mask, a lunch, clean clothes or just a smile and a hug. I enhance the educational experience by bringing new ideas to my school about safety, kindness, and positive behavior support.
Thank you to Brian Brijbag, Esq. for sponsoring Suncoast Elementary School's Teacher of the Year, Rita Morrongiello. Ms. Morrongiello will receive $100 for classroom supplies courtesy of Brian Brijbag, Esq.
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