Meet Amy Frangella, MSEd 2010
Teaching is a family affair for Amy Frangella, and since childhood, she's never imagined doing anything else. "My brother and sister-in-law are teachers, and my mom is a school nurse. I come from a whole family of educators. From the time I was 5, I was playing teacher, and that's what I always wanted to be," she said.
Completing a Master of Science in Education at the University of Saint Francis in 2010 helped her achieve that early dream, and gave her a chance to help children with unique needs. She's a special education teacher at Ryan Park Elementary School in Angola, Indiana.
While student teaching at Ryan Park as an undergrad, principal Mike Christ recognized her dedication and talent, and asked her about teaching special needs children. "He said they'd have an opening, and I was like—yeah! But I didn't just want a license, I wanted a degree. So I observed some functional skills children to see what it would be like. I never saw myself doing that, but I knew I was up for the challenge. That's what I was looking for."
While working on her master's degree at USF, she found a model for the character she now relies upon daily for her job. "The compassion and individual attention at USF modeled how I need to give individual compassion to my students," she said. "USF had the compassion to work with my schedule. They made concessions for me, and I know I need to do the same."
That compassion extends beyond the classroom. A high school and college cheerleader herself, she welcomes the chance to demonstrate a positive attitude and good character to Angola Middle School cheerleaders through coaching. "I chose middle school students because I can affect their lives as a role model before they enter high school," she said.
The flexibility USF demonstrated toward her as a student also became a valuable teaching tool. "Every day is different. You never know what each day will bring in education, so you need to adjust quickly." The compassion and flexibility also play into her interaction with her classroom teaching assistants.
She knows that to teach well, she must continually learn. "I always see myself as a learner," she said. "I'm interested in autism, so I'm going to a conference to learn about it. I'm striving to learn as much as I can to be the best I can be."