Mrs. Diana Baum- Administrative Secretary

Favorite vacation/destination:

My husband and I love spending time in wild, wonderful West Virginia. There is so much natural beauty to enjoy no matter what the season.  We also find as we explore towns on our “off the beaten path” adventures, the people we meet are so friendly and so happy to take time to visit with us.

What is the thing you like most about your work:  

Truly I love that there is something new and different that happens each day! I also love being able to work with….EVERYONE.. students, parents, and staff at Ritchie Park, as well as MCPS staff in the central offices, Departments of Transportation, Material Management, Human Resources, etc.

How has working with children enhanced your skills in other areas of life?

Working with children I am reminded every day that it is so important to take time to listen and hear what they have to say – good to remember no matter who we talk to in our day.

Why do you love Ritchie Park?

I love Ritchie Park because of the tradition of commitment from staff and parents to do the best job possible to provide numerous opportunities for children to learn and grow in many different ways.

Favorite Movie:

 Lord of the Rings trilogy – I see something new every time I watch them.

Favorite Musician:

I love bluegrass music – one of my favorite artists is Dr. Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys. On Saturday mornings however you will find me listening to “Baroque and Beyond” – music by composers such as Vivaldi and Corelli. 

Favorite Quote:

The most important things in life are not things.   

Kristen Friedland - 2nd Grade Teacher

Favorite vacation destination/hobby:

I love visiting southern California!  It's so pretty there, and the weather is so nice.  I love Hollywood, Disneyland, Santa Monica, San Diego--I think southern California is my favorite place to go.  I love beaches too.  I also visit my parents often in southern New Jersey, where I grew up. It's always fun to go there too, especially in the summer.  They are near Ocean City, New Jersey, and I love to go to the beach there.  

 "What is the thing you like most about your work?"

I love getting to know my students and learning all about them.  It's so fun to watch them mature over a school year and to see how much they learn.  I also enjoy getting to go on field trips with them and seeing them learn from these experiences.  In second grade, we had the pleasure of taking the students to Strathmore.  For many of the students, it was their first time seeing a live orchestra perform, and they were so excited.  They dressed up for the trip and really enjoyed it.  We will also be taking field trips to a planetarium and to the zoo.  It is great watching them enjoy these experiences and learn at the same time.  

"How have schools changed in the last decade?"

I would say the biggest change has been in technology.  Technology is such a big part of learning now, and the students are so capable.  They are so skilled at typing their papers now on the Google Chromebooks.  They practice math and reading skills on them as well.  I have found though that as teachers, we want to find a balance and make sure that our students are not relying on technology too much.  We still want to make sure that they still have time for more traditional activities like reading and hands-on activities. 

"How has working with children enhanced your skills in other areas of life?"

I think I have become more patient in other areas of my life.  Teaching has also made me more accepting of people who are different than myself, whether it be in terms of beliefs, religion, race, culture, etc.  I see how having friendships with people who are different than me can be so beneficial.  I can learn so much from other people.  I have also seen kids who might be going through challenges come to school with a smile and a positive attitude.  They remind me to stay positive no matter what I am going through. 

 "What is the funniest thing a student has said to you?"

Kids say the funniest things to me all of the time!  One boy told me the other day that he is going to stay single when he's older because he doesn't want a girl always telling him what to do. 

"What was the hardest school skill to learn?" 

It's hard to stay on top of all of the latest technology.  There are so many great programs for students, but it's difficult to find time to explore them all and find which ones are best for our students. 

"What is the biggest misconception about schools/school staff?"

I think the biggest misconception is that teacher hours are the same as the student hours.  The staff of Ritchie Park is a dedicated one, and there are so many staff members who come early, stay late, or both.  We also bring a lot of work home with us that we do on evenings and weekends. 

"Why do you love Ritchie Park?"

I love the Ritchie Park community!  I am blessed to work on a staff in which every member is devoted to his or her job.  It's also a friendly staff.  I feel like if there was something that I needed, I could go to anyone on the staff, and he or she would help me.  It's a very kind and caring staff.  I also love the students and their amazing families.  The kids always come to school ready and excited to learn.  We have wonderful parents who are dedicated to their children.  Many parents, and even grandparents, volunteer at Ritchie Park, and I am so grateful for all of these volunteers. 

Favorite Movie:

I love so many movies, but my favorites over the years have been "When Harry Met Sally," "Titanic," and "Silver Linings Playbook."  I also love the recent movie, "Wonder."  I loved how the movie showed the importance of caring for and accepting others, even when they are different from us.

 Favorite Musician:

I am a huge Broadway fan!  Last year, I was able to see my favorite Broadway actress, Phillipa Soo, in "Amelie" on Broadway.  I have another trip to NYC planned for the spring and will see the new Broadway musical, "Frozen." I can't wait!

 Favorite Quote:

  "Follow your bliss.  If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one your are living.  When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you.  I say, follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be.  If you follow your bliss,  doors will open for you that wouldn't have opened for anyone else." --Joseph Campbell

 

Mr. Thomas Gray- 2nd Grade Teacher

Favorite vacation destination/hobby:
I like to play golf at nice golf courses. My brother and I might go to Bandon Dunes Golf course in Oregon.

"What is the thing you like most about your work?"

I like seeing kids applying the concepts they learn in authentic activities.

"How have schools changed in the last decade?"

We now make sure every child knows every concept. In the past we allowed some to sneak by.

"How has working with children enhanced your skills in other areas of life?"

I learned how to whisper when I want to say something important. I also whisper when I want my friend Brian to stop talking on the golf course.

"What is the funniest thing a student has said to you?"

I was walking with my class to have our individual pictures taken and a boy in my class said he didn’t bring in his money for his picture to be taken. I said don’t worry, you can have your picture taken on the make up day. He panicked and said, “But Mr. Gray, I don’t like wearing make up!”

"What was the hardest school skill to learn?"

When I was in first grade I didn’t understand long vowels. The whole “walking and talking”thing didn’t make sense to me.

"What is the biggest misconception about schools/school staff?"

That schools in low income areas have teachers that are not as good as teachers in high income areas. I have learned a lot of wonderful strategies from teachers in schools in all parts of the county.

"Why do you love Ritchie Park?"

I love Ritchie Park because our principal knows how to motivate our staff and because the staff is so receptive to new ideas.

Favorite Movie:

The Wizard of Oz. The witch scared the dickens out of me and they say you always like what you fear.

Favorite Musician:

Clarence Clemons. Before he passed away, he was the saxophonist for the Bruce Springsteen Band

Favorite Quote:

Effective effort leads to achievement

    Mrs. Elisabeth Tcheck - ESOL Teacher

    I am an ESOL teacher. ESOL stands for English to Speakers of Other Languages. The goal of the ESOL program is to empower ESOL students to master academic English to thrive in school and as a global citizen.

    At Ritchie Park, our students speak many languages:

    Mongolian

    Chinese

    Mandarin

    Tagalog

    Spanish

    Portuguese

    French

    Swahili

    Vietnamese

    Korean

    Azerbaijani

    Thai

    Indonesian

     

    Favorite vacation destination/hobby:

     Israel /  Physical exercise

    "What is the thing you like most about your work?"   

    I enjoy teaching and making a difference in children’s lives. It is an honor to be in this role. 

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    Favorite Movie:

    The Sound of Music

    Favorite Musician:

    Michael Jackson

    Favorite Quote:

    “To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.”

    Victor Hugo, Les Miserables.

    Mrs. Carol Davis - General Music Teacher

    Favorite vacation destination/hobby: I don't have a favorite vacation destination because I love traveling so much that I'm always excited about wherever I go. I've been fortunate to travel to much of the United States and several sites overseas. 

    Strathmore pic3 2014.jpg

     

    "What is the thing you like most about your work?" My favorite aspect of teaching music is being able to get children excited about the world of music in all its forms. Passion is contagious and I love seeing them light up with joy and excitement when performing songs with different genres, cultures, and themes. 

     

    "How has teaching enhanced your skills in other areas of life?" Teaching has made me more attuned to interpersonal skills and how they impact relationships. I often think that if grown-ups thought more about the lessons they are taught as children, in regards to empathy and manners, everyone would get along better. 

     

    "What is the funniest thing a student has said to you?" So many things over 18 years of teaching! When I was a first year teacher, my husband surprised me by showing up with pizza at work. He didn't realize I had a class at the time and one of my kindergarten students said (very impressed) "Wow! Your son is the pizza man?" 

     

    "What was the hardest teaching skill to learn?" The hardest skill to learn was how to manage the enormous amount of work that's required outside of teaching in order to be excellent in the classroom. It's still a challenge, but it always gets done! 

     

    "What is the biggest misconception about teaching?" I don't think people realize how well teachers know their students and how much they care about them. We spend hours, in my case up to 6 years, with students and we know them very well. We also know them in a setting that is different from home or after-school activities and sometimes, like in music, completely separate from their regular life. We have moments of great success with them and moments that are challenging. But, all those moments form relationships that are meaningful and lend themselves to insight about children that is valuable and important.  

     

    "Why do you love Ritchie Park?" I love Ritchie Park because of our amazing staff and wonderful students! In my tenure, I've worked at 10 MCPS elementary schools but have never worked with a staff that cares more for kids or works together more collegially than at Ritchie Park.

     

    Favorite Movie: Right now it's The Greatest Showman. 

     

    Favorite Musician: Too many to name! 

     

    Favorite Quote: "Music education opens doors that help children pass from school into the world around them. A world of work, culture, intellectual activity, and human involvement. The future of our nation depends on providing our children with a complete education that includes music." -Gerald Ford     

    Ms. Orinda Nelson- Vice Principal

    Favorite vacation destination/hobby:

    When I have the opportunity to get away, I love being in the Caribbean. The warm weather and varied shades of blue water bring a smile to my face and help me breathe easier. Although I love the Caribbean, I also love seeing new places. When I was a teacher, my mother and I would pick a different country to visit each year. My trip to Australia was one of the best.

    "What is the thing you like most about your work?"

    It is so much fun seeing students get excited about what they are learning. Each teacher has a different style of teaching and developing a classroom culture. As the assistant principal I have the benefit of seeing every classroom in action.

    "How has teaching/working with kids enhanced your skills in other areas of life?"

    Working in a school means that every day brings new challenges and sometimes multiple challenges at the same time. It is never boring. This has helped me stay calm in all areas of life. When I lived in California I was in both the 7.0 earthquakes (it followed me from northern California to southern). I was able to remain calm and help others focus on what needed to get done to get back to normal.

    "What is the funniest thing a student has said to you?"

    For some reason I can’t think of anything funny a student has said although there have been hundreds of things that students have said to make me laugh. One thing that I find entertaining is how very young children associate height with age. This works in my favor, since I am only 5”1’ I get to permanently be around 21 years old . . . until the students reach 2nd or 3rd grade.

     

    "What is the biggest misconception about teaching/working in a school?"

    Many people seem to think that teachers do not need to put much effort into their jobs. What they don’t realize is that teachers spend a lot of time analyzing student work to determine where students need help. Teachers plan their lessons thinking about what might be confusing to their students, how much information they can share in an allotted time without overwhelming them, and so much more. As the assistant principal, I spend time observing every classroom to see how students are responding to instruction and then the principal and I look over student data (test scores, quizzes) to determine if we need to change our approach. The administrators work with the teachers to find professional development opportunities to help us all improve. What I didn’t expect when I became an assistant principal is that I would be working on building maintenance, organizing all of the testing, and dealing with transportation concerns.

    "Why do you love Ritchie Park?"

    Everyone at Ritchie Park has been so welcoming! The parents, teachers, students, and staff have all made me feel like I was meant to be here. Thank you all!

    Favorite Movie:

    When I have free time I am usually watching an action movie although I enjoy all genres. I love movies and I have many favorites but the one that comes to mind is Heart and Souls. It is sad, funny and happy. The overall theme is being brave enough to correct your  mistakes, including mistakes made by not taking action.

    Favorite Quote:

    I don’t know where this quote originated (it may be a movie original) but I have remembered it ever since I heard Master Shifu say it in Kung Fu Panda 2:

    “If you only do what you can do, then you will never be more than you are now.”

    I think this is an important message for students as they struggle to learn new things every day. For some reason, we (adults) have managed to convince children that it is bad to try and fail, so many of them stop trying at a very early age. I want our children to try, fail, learn, and try again even if they fail several more times.

      Caroline Capoccia- School Counselor

      Favorite vacation destination/hobby: Napa Valley, CA.  My husband and I traveled there for the first time last May.  We truly loved the wine country!  We explored many beautiful vineyards and enjoyed incredible wines!

       

      "What is the thing you like most about your work?" I love that every day  is a brand new day!  My job is an adventure.  There are always new challenges to address.  I really love helping children resolve their problems and teach them new ways of healthy coping.

       

      "How has teaching enhanced your skills in other areas of life?" Counseling has taught me to be a good listener, to have patience, to find creative ways to solve problems, and to be able to handle a crisis.  All of these skills have helped me to be a better wife and mother.

       

      "What is the funniest thing a student has said to you?"  “Mrs. Capoccia – you spend all your time helping others.  But, who helps you?”

       

      "What was the hardest teaching skill to learn?"   It’s easy to tell a child how to solve a problem.  It’s much harder to have patience and help guide a child to solve the problem on their own.

       

      "What is the biggest misconception about teaching?"  Teachers get to leave before 5:00 and they have their summers off!  If people only knew the time and dedication that teachers/educators put into their profession…………..  A teacher’s day does not simply end when they walk out of the schoolhouse!  There is so much time spent outside of the school day.

       

      "Why do you love Ritchie Park?" RPES has been my home for 17 of the 24 years that I’ve spent as a School Counselor!  I truly love the community.  We are so fortunate to have families from such diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. 

       

      Favorite Movie:  One of my all-time favorite movies is The Blind Side.  It teaches us so many life lessons!

       

      Favorite Musician: I am a country music fan! 

       

      Favorite Quote: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!”

      Phyllis J Hickox-Heald - 3rd Grade Teacher

      Favorite vacation destination/hobby:

      Favorite vacation destination:  I have only been once, but Nantucket was my all-time favorite place to visit.  The history plus the natural beauty offered in Nantucket made a perfect place to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.

      My favorite hobby is yoga.  I have recently started practicing yoga and hope to someday become a yoga instructor.

       

      "What is the thing you like most about your work?"

      The thing I like most about my work is, by far the students!  They give me such joy and a feeling of purpose.

       

      "How has teaching enhanced your skills in other areas of life?"

      I believe teaching has made me a better mom, wife, sister and friend.  Life lessons are learned every day in the classroom and those lessons travel with me wherever I go.

       

      "What is the funniest thing a student has said to you?"

      I came to school with a new hair style, and one of my students came up to me, smiling and said, “Mrs. Heald, are you having a bad hair day?”  I had to laugh!

       

      "What was the hardest teaching skill to learn?" 

       

      For me, the hardest teaching skill to learn was how to create meaningful lessons.  In the beginning of my teaching career,  I created my lessons by the rules, but I would often notice there was not a meaningful connection to the student.  Time in the classroom and working with all types of students has helped to build my skill level.

       

       

      "What is the biggest misconception about teaching?"

       

      This is a difficult question to answer, because different groups of people have different ideas of what teaching is all about.   I know most teachers truly never stop working.  I feel we are always on the lookout for something that might reach one of our students- a great book to share with the students, cool materials to offer our students- or just wanting to complete some professional development to grow our skills.   It is impossible for me to leave this job at school.  My parents were a teacher and a principal, so I was raised watching them embrace their life’s work.  It is truly an honor to teach.

       

      "Why do you love Ritchie Park?"

      I love the students and their families!  I feel a part of such a rich and supportive community.  And the staff is truly a joy to work with every day!

       

      Favorite Movie:

      The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.  I cry every time!

       

      Favorite Musician:

      Bruce Springsteen – I hope to win the next ticket lottery on 12/19!

       

      Favorite Quote:

      We have a family mantra we have always shared with each other when we part:

      You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and loved more than you know.

      Ms. Susan Petullo - 5th Grade Teacher

      Favorite vacation destination/hobby:

      Riding a bike at the beach.

      "What is the thing you like most about your work?":

      Getting to work with the most supportive teammates, staff, and teachers.

      "How has teaching enhanced your skills in other areas of life?":

      Our students have taught me that I can do anything I put my mind to!  Their perseverance is amazing!

      "What is the funniest thing a student has said to you?"

      Wow, this is tough to answer because there have been so many! Today, a student said very dramatically that he couldn't get any work done inside, he just had to be outside! 

      "What was the hardest teaching skill to learn?" 

      Probably time management. There are never enough hours during the school day to accomplish everything.

      "Why do you love Ritchie Park?"

      It's like a big family: a caring and dedicated staff, students and parents.

      Favorite Movie: 

      West Side Story

      Favorite Musician: 

      Changes all the time; right now it's Bleachers

      Favorite Quote: 

      "You can't go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending." - C.S. Lewis

      Ms. Charlene Parilla , MCPS Special Education Supervisor

      Favorite vacation destination/hobby: 

      I love going to the beach or hiking in the mountains.  Last summer my family took my dad to Glazier (Montana) and Waterton (Canada) for a family hiking trip to celebrate his birthday.  It was just spectacular.  My dad at 80 hiked some strenuous trails.  He was so excited to be back out west that I don’t think he even considered not hiking.

      What is the thing you like most about your work?

      The work I do to support children with special needs and to see them progress from elementary to high school graduation. 

      How has teaching enhanced your skills in other areas of life?

      I am definitely more patient, a better listener, and more resilient.  I have faced some very difficult situations over the past years and the skills I have learned from my students and their families helped me get through.

      What is the funniest thing a student has said to you?

      Student: How did you get that scar on your face? 

      Me: Wait what? 

      Student: Right there. 

      Me: That is called a wrinkle it is caused by A.G.E.

      Funny thing I was only in my late 20’s and it is now at age 50 a true wrinkle but not at the time.

      What was the hardest teaching skill to learn?"

      Classroom management

      What is the biggest misconception about teaching?

      That we have all the answers

      Why do you love Ritchie Park?

      The school climate, the families, teachers, and the students I support.

       Favorite Movie:

      Princess Bride

      Favorite Musician: 

      Garth Brooks, so happy he is back

      Ms. Dana Svejda - Physical Education teacher

      Favorite vacation destination/hobby: 

      The beach!  Love the warm weather, water, and sand.

      "What is the thing you like most about your work?" 

      Being able to move all day and introducing different types of movement to kids.

      "How has teaching enhanced your skills in other areas of life?"

       It definitely teaches patience, compassion, and understanding.

      "What is the funniest thing a student has said to you?" 

      That I should consolidate all of my PE equipment into one closet so that I can make a “she cave”  so that I have somewhere to relax during the day :)

      "What was the hardest teaching skill to learn?" 

       I would have to say baseball.  I spent a whole semester taking it.  I still don’t love it, but I can hit, catch and run and do have a better appreciation for it.

      "Why do you love Ritchie Park?"

       Love the community feel.  It’s like a second family.

      Favorite Movie:

       Jaws.  Scary movies are the best!

      Favorite Musician: 

      Bob Marley

      Favorite Quote:

       ”Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  Mahatma Gandhi

      Mr. Michael Carbonaro- 4th Grade Teacher

      Favorite vacation destination/hobby:

      A good friend of mine has a cabin in the mountains of western Maryland.  You need 4 wheel drive to get up the mountain to the cabin.  While there we hunt, fish, ride ATV’s, and relax.  We sit out and have campfires at night.  You can actually see all of the stars without all of the light pollution. It’s a great break from the congestion and fast-paced lives we all have. 

      "What is the thing you like most about your work?"

      The people I work with.  Many of my teammates have worked at RPES for over ten years.  We are all extended family and will go out of our ways to help each other when needed.  Having worked with them for long, there is a certain comfort level you build and that makes what can sometimes be a difficult job more manageable. 

      "How has teaching enhanced your skills in other areas of life?"

      Friends that I don’t work with say that I am pretty laid back.  There are so many aspects of being a teacher.  You have to plan, teach, grade, counsel, console, problem solve, be an accountant, and so much more.  If I allowed every part of my job to stress me out I wouldn’t have lasted this long or enjoyed my job like I do.  I try to take on one task at a time, finish it, and then move to the next.

      "What is the funniest thing a student has said to you?"

      My first probably won’t make the cut, so I’ll give two. 

      Probably 18 years ago, the class was outside playing kickball.  The line to kick was creeping closer and closer to the field and I asked the class to back up a number of times.  One student didn’t listen, a ball hit him in the groin, and he said, “Ah, Mr. Carbonaro.  It hit me square in the nuts!”  I lost it.

      The second:

      A student went to the bathroom and came back with his pants all wet in the front.  The kids laughed, but he played it off as getting wet when he was washing his hands.  This was during dismissal, so he came to me and whispered, “Hey, Mr. Carbonaro.  Between you and me…….it’s pee”

      Favorite Movie:

      No matter what, if a see it on TV,  I have to watch The Princess Bride.  It’s corny, has a great cast. 

      Favorite Musician:

      My father liked country music and I would always listen to it when I was with him.  So I don’t think I can name a specific artist, but country music of the 80’s a and 90’s is what I like most.  Not the songs where my dog died, and my wife left, but the ones about simpler lives and family.

      Favorite Quote:

      From Top Gun.  “Tower, this is Ghostrider requesting a flyby.  Negative Ghostrider, the pattern is full.”  I use the last part of it to say no in a way that confuses my own kids and to make light of some situations.  It’s also from another of my favorite movies.

       

      Ms. Claudia Zegarra - School Secretary

      Favorite vacation destination/hobby

      Peru and California

      What is the thing you like most about your work?

      I really enjoy interacting with the students and my co-workers.

      What is the funniest thing a student has said to you?

       I hear funny comments from students all the time - one that stands out is a kindergartner who came to the office last year and asked me for “lipstick” because his lips were too dry. 

      Why do you love Ritchie Park?

      I love it because of my co-workers, especially Mrs. Baum and Mrs. Black. It’s such a joy to work with these two wonderful ladies every day!

      Favorite Movie

      The Sound of Music” and “The Parent Trap (1998)"

      Favorite Musician

      I have way too many to name, but I’ll go with Michael Jackson.

      Favorite Quote

      “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

       

      Ms. Maureen Stultz - Art Teacher

      What has been the most surprising thing you've learned from teaching?

      I’ve been at Ritchie Park for a long time - I’m currently teaching kids of kids! 

      I’m always honored and surprised when I have high school, college-aged students and some parents, come back to visit and tell me that they still have their artwork from art classes at Ritchie Park.  They’ve often kept their collection of yearly portfolios or mention that their parents still have an art wall at home displaying their Ritchie Park pieces.  I’m honored to know that Art made a positive impact on their lives.

      How has teaching enhanced your skills in other areas of life?

      Teaching has enhanced other areas of my life by developing my organizational skills, patience, caring, and an enhanced sense of humor!

      What is the funniest thing a student has said to you?

      There are so many funny stories, kids are great!  One that comes to mind, is that we were doing realistic observational drawings of animals.  A student was talking to his friends at his table, and they were shaking their heads no…he was shaking his head yes.  He approached me and said, “Mrs. Stultz, can I draw a turtle?”  I said, “Of course, that’s a great choice!”  He went back to his table BEAMING and said to his friends, “I told you so, she said yes!”  My curiosity got the best of me, so I went over to see his turtle.  It was a turtle alright, a Ninja Turtle! 

      Why do you love Ritchie Park?

      I love Ritchie Park because I work with a very dedicated staff and amazingly creative, inspiring and artistic children and their families. 

      Favorite Movie:  

      One of my favorite movies is Signs.

      Favorite Musician: 

      I’m not sure that I can pick a favorite musician.  I love all genres of music from classical, to jazz, to r & b, to rock, to hip hop, to bluegrass, to folk, to big band!  I did grow up being a major Beatles fan for sure!

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      Ms. Alessandra E. Tsakos - 1st Grade teacher

      What has been the most surprising thing you've learned from teaching?

      Teaching keeps me feeling young and happy. So there are personal benefits as well as benefits for future generations.   

      How has teaching enhanced your skills in other areas of life?

      It has made me a more patient and thoughtful person.  When I look at another person, I see the child still inside and it helps me to connect better with the whole person. 

      What is the funniest thing a student has said to you?

      I had a struggling reader many years ago, who, one day during reading group, looked at me in surprise and exclaimed, “Mrs. Tsakos!  I don’t need you anymore!”  It was the day she started to make all of the miraculous connections it takes to be a reader.  It was also a poignant moment when I am reminded again that, as much as we want to keep our children always close to us – our actual job as parents and educators – is to help our children soar on their own, without us.

      Why do you love Ritchie Park?

      I love the dedication at Ritchie Park – among staff, students, and parents.  It is a place where I feel inspired to be my best and do my best.

      Favorite Movie: 

      On Golden Pond

      Favorite Musician: 

      Beethoven(Fifth Symphony)

      Favorite Quote:   

      My favorite quote is a poem: 

      Be like the bird who, 

      Stopping in flight,  

      On limb too slight –

      Feels it give way beneath him. 

      Yet sings…

      Knowing he hath wings” 

      Ms. Whitnee Liverpool-Cummins - Kindergarten Teacher

      What has been the most surprising thing you've learned from teaching?

      I have learned children are like sponges. If you teach them, most of the time they absorb the info quickly.

      What is the funniest thing a student has said to you?  

      I once asked a student to describe what a marshmallow looked like. I was expecting a cloud, white, etc. They told me it looked like a tree and then their friend exclaimed, "I could see that, maybe even a leaf!"

      Why do you love Ritchie Park?

      The people!! I love the staff and the families I have met. Everyone is so warm and welcoming.

      Favorite Movie

      I love the movie "How to Train Your Dragon" and " Dirty Dancing"

      Favorite Musician

       I don't think I have one.

      Ms. Catherine Long - Principal

      "What has been the most surprising thing you've learned from your years in education?"

      I stopped being surprised many years ago

      "What is the funniest thing a student has said to you?"

      Why do you have elephant legs? (my pantyhose were loose and bunched beneath my knee)

      "Why do you love Ritchie Park?"

      There is a strong sense of community- we are in this together for all of the children

      Favorite Movie:

      It’s a Wonderful Life

      Favorite Musician:

      Bruce Springsteen

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