THIS MONTH'S WINNER: Rhiannon Greder  |  NOMINATED BY: Flora Saucier

By Greg Bruns

Miss Rhiannon Greder had worked her way through NAU’s education program with a dual degree in elementary and special education. She was in her last year of student teaching at a Deer Valley school when they offered her a job in special education. At the same time, an offer came in from Christ Lutheran School (CLS). A position had opened up that would use her degree in elementary education. 

Greder really enjoyed special education and the people at Deer Valley, but she also had a lot of experience at CLS. Not only was she a student at CLS through 8th grade, but she had also worked as a preschool teacher’s aide for three years while she was in college. To top it off, her father Gary Greder had been teaching and coaching at CLS for nearly 17 years at the time.

“It was a tough choice,” said Greder, “but I think God led me this way.”

That was over three years ago. Now she’s happily teaching second grade at CLS, where she uses both ofher areas of expertise every day. 

At most schools, second grade is where the real work begins. Homework starts getting shuttled back and forth from home to school. Reading and comprehension are core components. Underlying math concepts begin to take shape. Students are now responsible for more than just their actions, as they learn self-discipline and how to work with others. 

They also learn how to learn, and this is one of the things Greder likes to nurture most.

“My experience in special education helps a lot,” said Greder, “you get to know your kids and discover their strengths and how they do best in the classroom. Then it’s about helping them understand how to use that.” 

This concept was part of the reason why Flora and her parents nominated Miss Greder for Teachers We Love. 

“She knows how to draw out the best in children,” said Fernanda Saucier, Flora’s mother. “She tells the kids ‘it’s cool’ to make a mistake… it’s not something to be ashamed of, but an opportunity to learn and grow.” 

Greder is quite happy with second grade and doesn’t have any changes planned. When she first started, her preschool mentor told her the best part is seeing former students work their way through 8th grade, since CLS is K-8. It’s best to stay in the lower grades for that experience.

“I’m looking forward to that,” said Greder. “Some of the kids in my current class I was teaching when I was an aide, including Flora. I just love watching them grow.”

Winning teachers receive Arcadia News gift items, a gift certificate for The Spa at The Phoenician and a gift certificate for Postino. All winners are invited to an end of school year celebratory luncheon. Nominate a teacher you love at arcadianews.com.