This month's winner: Stephanie Lentz – Kindergarten Teacher, Archway Veritas
Nominated by: Shirin Lalani
How long have you been teaching at Archway Veritas?
I have been teaching at Archway Veritas for three years – all of those years in kindergarten. I truly love this age group and see myself teaching the “littles” for a long time.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Phoenix and then lived in Illinois for four years, until 2006, when I moved back to Arizona to be closer to my family. I went to school at Shadow Mountain High and then Arizona State for a Bachelor’s in Sociology, Bachelor’s in Women’s Studies and an Ethnic Studies Certificate.
How long have you been a kindergarten teacher?
I have been a kindergarten teacher for four years, but was a teaching assistant prior in math intervention for students in grades kindergarten through sixth grade. I knew I wanted to teach the kindergarteners, so I went back to school and got a second Master’s in Early Childhood Education from ASU.
Did you always know you wanted to be a teacher?
I hold a Master’s Degree in Sociology from Northern Illinois University, and before becoming a teacher, I worked in social services with children and senior citizens for about 10 years. I decided I wanted to work as an educator, so I got my second Master’s from ASU and here I am.
Do you have any unique techniques you use for teaching?
I believe that young children are full of curiosities and wonder and my job is to listen to what they have to say and answer their questions on their level. I try to make every child “heard” and also make them feel loved and valued; that is my “technique” I guess. That and having a sense of humor, that helps too.
Have you taught anywhere else?
I taught previously in the Paradise Valley Unified School District and the Peoria Unified School District, but Great Hearts is the place I want to stay. They are an amazing school and I believe the curriculum for the students we serve is a wonderful mix of classical education and how to have a “great heart” as well.
What is your favorite part about being a kindergarten teacher?
My favorite part of being a kindergarten teacher is the 30 amazing students I am privileged to teach every year. I love the insightful, earnest things they say and watching their growth as they mature into scholars over the course of their initial years as students is just awesome.
What do you love most about the Arcadia neighborhood?
My daughters and I just recently moved to the area. My favorite part is being able to walk on the canal and enjoy the beauty of Arizona.