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Andrea Zieba named EMM Teacher of the Month

Name: Andrea Zieba

Years teaching in Monticello: 8 years

Tell us a little about yourself?

I have my Master’s Degree in Special Education and am licensed to teach children with Developmental Cognitive Delays, Specific Learning Disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Physical/Health Impairments.  During my time in Monticello, I have worked at Pinewood Elementary (3 years), Monticello High School (2 years), and am currently in my 3rd year as a kindergarten special education teacher at Eastview Education Center.  

I have been married to my husband, Joe, for 6 ½ years.  We have two children, Henry (age 5) and Quinn (age 3 ½).  When I am not teaching, I enjoy spending time with friends and family, reading, attending plays/musicals, camping and traveling (although not often enough!).  I recently started my own business selling Color Street nail strips.  

Why did you choose the teaching profession?

Ever since I was a little girl (kindergarten to be exact), I aspired to be a teacher.  Although I entertained the idea of other career paths along the way, I always came back to education.  My path took a slight left turn in my second year of college when I was placed in a 5th grade classroom for my first field experience.  During this time, I found myself gravitating towards helping the kids who seemed to be struggling.  I wanted to find alternative ways to help them learn the material when it wasn’t coming easy to them.  I also preferred working one-on-one with students.  As I reflected on my desire to help those who were struggling, my path led me to the world of special education.  It was a “light bulb” moment for me, having grown up with an uncle who has a cognitive impairment and other behavioral needs.  Not knowing it at the time, it was really him who had inspired me along the way. It was him who taught me the patience and gave me the passion to work with students with such unique needs. 

What is the best thing about teaching in Monticello?

I have met and worked with an amazing group of people.  Being on three different teams in three different buildings, I have felt incredibly supported in every role.  It takes special people to work in the special education world and I have been blessed to work with many of them! 

What is your proudest moment as a teacher?

There are too many moments to narrow down into just one.  The most rewarding part of my job is when a student that I have been working with has learned a skill that has “beaten the odds”.  A skill that parents were told their child may never do.  I believe that all kids are capable no matter what their disability; there’s nothing I won’t try.  And when the skill is mastered, it’s fulfilling to know that I was a part of that learning.  

What advice would you give a young adult who is thinking about a teaching career? 

Your role as a teacher will be to mold the future by influencing students’ views and understanding.  You’ll help them develop behaviors, adopt creativity, view the world with a positive approach, and find the potential they need to lead a productive life. By being an educator, you’ll clearly see the fruits of your labor every single day as you use your knowledge and intelligence to encourage students to become excited and eager about learning.  No two days will be the same!