Paras to Pros

Congratulations to PCSD's first cohort of 'Paras to Pros' graduates! 

Tonya Whitehurst, Executive Director of Human Resources, presented the first cohort of Saint Leo University graduates to the board at the regular meeting on Tuesday, October 5th. These former paraprofessionals are now teaching in our schools after completing their BA degrees in education through a partnership program between PCSD and SLU. We are so proud of their dedication and determination!

Pictured here are PCSD teachers: Sheryl Brunke- Ochwilla Elementary, Samantha Edwards- Browning-Pearce Elementary, Sindy Hunt- Putnam Academy of Arts & Sciences, Oscar Jaimes- Crescent City Jr-Sr High School, and Heather Pogue- Palatka Jr-Sr High School. Not pictured here, but also a graduate of the program, is Jennifer Tucker- Kelley Smith Elementary School. 

More about the graduates!

Sheryl Brunke - Ochwilla, 3rd grade -- When the para to pro program was introduced, Sheryl Brunke was the first person who came to mind. As a paraprofessional, she has always worked diligently to support our students academically as well as offer social-emotional support. As a teacher, she has the enthusiasm of a brand new teacher with the wisdom and understanding of a seasoned teacher.  Sheryl is eager to learn how to be the best teacher she can be and expects her students to work hard and be the best that they can be. She believes in their ability to grow therefore they believe in themselves. We are so grateful that this program has afforded her the opportunity to be an Ochwilla teacher and to share her passion for learning with our students in the classroom.

Samantha Edwards - Browning Pearce, 3rd Grade -- Mrs. Drew says “Samantha is a blessing to Browning Pearce.  She worked tirelessly at completing her requirements in the program and even when it got tough, she never gave up.  It's obvious when you talk to her that teaching is a work of the heart.  She 's completely invested in the success of her students every day when she walks in the door.  She's a Browning Pearce Bear through and through!”

Sindy Hunt - Putnam Academy of Arts & Sciences, ELA - Mr. Ellis says Sindy Hunt has always been an excellent teacher. Thanks to Paras-to-Pros, she now gets paid to do the job she dearly loves, and we are fortunate that she is on the Putnam Academy team.

Oscar Jaimes, Crescent City Jr-Sr High, Spanish - Oscar has been a part of the Putnam County School District over the last several years.  He is one to always challenge himself in all aspects of his job.  When the Para to Pro Teacher Program became available, he was interested from the onset and has risen to the challenge of completing his courses in becoming a certified teacher.  Oscar is the first Hispanic Male Crescent City High School Alumni to stay in Putnam and teach at the very school he graduated from.  Oscar tells his students: "Don't compare yourself to others, just focus on being a better version of yourself than you were yesterday."  This is exactly what he has done and we thank him for serving in the community in which he lives.

Heather Pogue - Palatka Jr Sr High School, ELA - Mr. Stout --- Heather Pogue has been a wonderful addition to PJSHS. She has a great ability to create positive relationships and transfer these into effective classroom instruction.

Jennifer Tucker - Kelley Smith Elementary, 3rd Grade (not present) - Jennifer Tucker has proven to be one of our most dedicated first year teacher hires. Her previous experience as a Paraprofessional has allowed her to develop extraordinarily strong classroom management skills, while also providing her with insights that other first year teachers haven't acquired yet.

To learn more about the Paras to Pros program, please contact PCSD Department of Human Resources at 386-329-0547.