"Education is the one thing no one can ever take from you."
This is the phrase I was raised on. As the grand daughter of four Cuban refugees, I was always taught that education was priceless and truly the only thing that could never be taken away. My grandparents came to America from Cuba with three and eight (to later become nine) children respectively. When they arrived, they faced the loss of any professional certifications, the loss of their homes, and the loss of their careers. One grandfather taught tennis as a tennis pro as the other faced re-completion of residency. One grandmother cared for her children and worked at the school they would attend, while the other taught piano while caring for her children and managing household and ultimately office finances. In all this, they always instilled in their children, and later grandchildren, that a willingness to work hard and learn could take you anywhere. For me, that meant following a dream of being a teacher. At six, I knew I would be a teacher. At fourteen, after a mission trip serving in an Exceptional Student Education (ESE) pre-school classroom in a local elementary school, I knew I would be an ESE teacher. At twenty-one, I knew I would work in a class for students needing more support than available in the general education classroom. And I have made all these dreams come true in the last four years teaching at Mendenhall Elementary. I have also been blessed to continue my education at USF, completing my Masters degree in Autism Spectrum Disorder and Severe Intellectual Disabilities in December of 2017. Working with these students has been such a joy in my life. I am so proud to be a small part of their educational careers.
University of South Florida- Master of Arts Autism Spectrum Disorder and Severe Intellectual Disability
University of South Florida- Bachelor of Science Exceptional Student Education
K-6 Elementary Education Certification
PK-3 Early Childhood Education Certification
K-12 Exceptional Student Education Certification