Over the new few months, we will spotlight various teachers in the Lower School. This week I sat down with Mrs. Halupka, Grade 4 teacher to learn more about her passions, ideas on education and more.
How did you come to work at Windermere Prep? How long have you taught here?
I remember passing our school campus and saying to myself, “I would love to work in this school. It looks so warm and welcoming.” That was a fast eight years ago when my family and I moved from New Jersey to Florida. I started as a substitute teacher covering classes from Pre-K 4 right through 12th grade! Fortunately, a long term aide position opened up in the first grade, and I gladly welcomed the opportunity to work alongside our teachers. A short time after this, as luck would have it, a fourth-grade opening became available for the next school year, so I jumped at the chance to teach a model lesson to a fourth-grade class, and the rest is history. I consider myself one lucky teacher to be a part of our Laker Community, for we are family!
What is your professional background?
My lifelong wish has always been to be a teacher. From the time I was a young child, I would teach classes to my nieces and nephews every time they came to our house to visit grandma! This led to the passion of my life! I taught my entire career up until eight years ago in New Jersey. I started as a seventh and eighth-grade teacher, then a second-grade teacher, and finally the bulk of my teaching career was spent in the fourth grade. I have a Master’s Degree in Learning Technologies. I was an adjunct professor at the College of New Jersey, teaching graduate classes to teachers. I was awarded The Governor’s Teacher Recognition Award for New Jersey. I also served on the Science Committee for the state of New Jersey as we created the statewide test for fourth graders. As a lifelong learner, I have always embraced professional development opportunities, from being Google Level 1 Certified to courses offered through Harvard University.
Tell us about your Favorite Memory As a Teacher.
Although there are so many magical, golden memories that are held so close to my heart, my fondest memories are those that happen on a daily basis, from the smile on one of my student’s faces to the sound of my name being called across campus. Knowing that I have connected with so many beautiful young people is the memory of a lifetime!
outside of teaching, what is your favorite Activity Outside of School?
When I am not preparing for my classes, my spare time is spent being in a world where fantasy is real and dreams really do come true. Of course, I am describing The Magic Kingdom. I also frequent Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and the Animal Kingdom. I will always be a child at heart, and walking through the parks welcomes me to the most magical place on earth!
Tell us about your Family Life.
My family is foremost in my life. My endearing husband, Tom, my talented daughter, Jaime and her amazing husband, Ryan, and my most loved little granddaughter, Natalie, are the sunshine in my every day.
If you were deserted on an island and you could only have 3 cd’s, what would they be?
They would be Elton John’s Greatest Hits, Queen’s Greatest Hits, and The Beatles’ Greatest Hits. Of course, there would be a few more that I would wish for too!
~ Summer Simmons, Marketing Manager at Windermere Preparatory School