School: Samuel Bissell Elementary School

District: Twinsburg City Schools

Residence: Solon

Age: 43

Job title: Instructional assistant (licensed intervention specialist)

How long at district: 5 years

Family: Two children: Olivia, 14, and Jack, 13

What is the most rewarding part of your position? The most rewarding part of my position is watching a student go from struggling to making progress. It doesn’t matter if it’s an academic, social or emotional issue, seeing a child’s face light up and their confidence soar gives me an amazing feeling.

What is the most challenging? The most challenging part of my position is also my favorite part. I get to work with many different teachers with different personalities, classroom routines and students. While getting to know all of my colleagues has been a joy and a privilege, it can be difficult to switch between the various classroom environments throughout the day.

If you weren’t doing this, you’d be? If I wasn’t teaching in a school district, I would probably still be teaching dance.

Tell us something about the students you deal with most people don’t know or appreciate. I don’t think most people realize how hard students today are working. The curriculum is a lot faster than when I was in school and children are held to a high standard. I think there should be a special appreciation for kids of all ages who demonstrate their work ethic.

How do you unwind after a long day at work? I have two busy teenagers at home, so winding down doesn’t always happen after work. I am usually driving them to and from their activities. When my day is ending, I’m usually talking with one of my children or reading a book.

The students and co-workers would be surprised to know that I ... am an excellent tap dancer!

What is the one responsibility about your position you didn’t know existed before taking it? The one responsibility about my position I didn’t know existed before taking it is the constant change in my day. Although there is always a lesson plan to follow, sometimes I just need to go with the flow and ride the wave of unpredictability. There are days when this is harder to do than others, but I’m lucky to work with the most amazing staff, and we are a team that is always there for each other.