Staff in the Spotlight

Staff in the Spotlight: Bill Rutherford

What is your role in Pasco County?
I am in my 26th year as the Director of Bands at Gulf High School. I work with the marching, concert, and jazz bands as well as our color guard. I also teach piano, Advanced Placement Music Theory, International Baccalaureate Music and Video Production.

What do you love about your job?
I love creating music with my students and watching them grow as musicians. I am lucky to have them for all 4 years of high school and to see them enter as young 9th graders and graduate as mature 12th graders with their lives ahead of them. The interaction with the students is what makes me love what I do each day.

Who or what inspired you?
Two of my former music teachers are my inspiration. I gained a love for music from my elementary music teacher, John Keon, who taught music at Anclote Elementary and Hudson Middle School. And as a graduate of Gulf High School myself, my high school band director, Ed Francis, inspired me to become a band director.

Tell us something unique that people may not know about you.
My wife and I are proud owners of an 8 -month old hedgehog named Milo. He is the second hedgehog we have owned since 2017.


Staff in the Spotlight: Cheryl Furia

What is your role in Pasco County?

I work as the Data Entry of Fox Hollow Elementary School.

What do you love about your job?

I love the students the most. Every day I receive tons of hugs and love from them. Some days I’m fortunate enough to be able to spend a bit of time talking with them. I also love my Fox Family…they’re my favorite!

Who or what inspires you?

The resilience of each of the students. The way they come to school and do their best every day. You can catch them helping and truly caring about each other. No matter what comes their way, they manage to make the best of it.

Tell us something unique that people may not know about you.

Despite my loud and perky behavior at school, I am actually very shy and a bit introverted.

The person who nominated Ms. Furia shared, “She knows every single student’s name by heart! She floats all over the office helping where she can.”


Staff Spotlight: Shawnda Weaver

What is your role in Pasco County?
I am a Head Start/VPK Teacher. This is my third year teaching at Moon Lake Elementary.

What do you love about your job?
I have been working in the Early Childhood Education field for 23 years and I truly feel at home being a part of the Head Start Program. The program supports young children and their families using a wholistic approach. I love that I can teach and support my students using best practices for young children by providing a developmentally appropriate education.

Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired every day by the resiliency of my young students and their desire to discover and learn in spite of the adversity that they face. I know that all children can grow and develop when encouraged and given the opportunity to do their very best. That is what inspires me to grow as a teacher and to find new ways to engage my students for optimal learning while meeting individual student needs.

Tell us something unique that people may not know about you.
I love go on adventures and discover new things! I enjoy camping in my home state of Michigan, hiking in the mountains of Colorado and kayaking in Florida.


Staff in the Spotlight: Lisa Peart

What is your role in Pasco County?
I have been the School Counselor at Northwest Elementary for 14 years. I am a Harmony Project Champion and the ABC /Family Involvement Coordinator. I am also on the School Counselor Leadership team and I am the Regional Support for the Elementary counselors in the Northwest Region.

What do you love about your job?
I love being able to help people! I am blessed to be in a position where I can help students, families, teachers and staff at Northwest as well as other counselors around the district.

Who or what inspires you?
Florida Senator Lauren Book. She is a childhood survivor of sexual abuse and has created the Safer Smarter Kids curriculum. It is offered to school districts free of cost and is implemented in all Pasco County schools by the School Counselors. Senator Book is committed to empowering children with the tools needed to stay safe. Students’ lives have been impacted greatly thanks to Senator Book and her dedication to stopping abuse and fighting for the rights of victims. For that I will be forever grateful. I am also inspired by the resiliency I see in my students every day.

Tell us something unique that people may not know about you.
I love to read but the last few years since I’ve born my two sons, all I get to read are children’s books. That is okay though since someday I hope to write a children’s book myself!


Staff in the Spotlight: Audrey Derkiss

What is your role in Pasco County?

I have taken many roles in the school system over the past twenty years. I have been a Pre-k teacher and an Instructional Assistant in both Kindergarten and high school. I have also been involved in promoting and advancing an afterschool enrichment program.

What do you love about your job?

The part of my job that I love the most is to see the look in the eyes of a student the moment that they “get it”! That moment is the best!

Who or what inspires you?

My husband and my children inspire me. Knowing they are proud of me and what I do for my students makes me want to work harder.

Tell us something unique that people may not know about you.

I love classical music and the smell of fresh cut grass.

The person who nominated Ms. Derkiss shared, “Always has a smile on her face, very professional, and goes beyond what her job requires”.


Staff in the Spotlight: Leslie Nunn

What is your role in Pasco County?
Pasco eSchool's Secretary/Bookkeeper

What do you love about your job?
I love working with the entire eSchool staff, our students and families. I also have a lot of contact with district staff and schools with students that enroll with Pasco eSchool. It really is a great school to work for.

Who or what inspires you?
My Principal, JoAnne Glenn. She has been a strong influence for me and I have learned so much from her both professionally and personally.

Tell us something unique that people may not know about you.
There really isn't anything unique about me except I truly love what I do and I really wouldn't change it. Yes, all jobs have ups/downs, but when you work with the crew that eSchool has - there really aren’t any down days. They will rally around you for whatever reason. I started working at Schrader Elementary School in April 2002, then went to J.W. Mitchell High School and have been with eSchool since it opened 11 years ago. I love being a secretary, have been one for over 35 years.


Staff in the Spotlight: Jean Howey

What is your role in Pasco County?
I am a Physical Education teacher and Special Olympics coach at Connerton Elementary.

What do you love about your job?
There are so many things I love about my job! It allows me to be a teacher, mentor, advocate, and friend to every child on our campus. I love the way their faces light up when they see me and that they trust me enough to be someone they can come to when they need help. I love that I get to help kids explore what they’re good at and develop a passion for being active. I am also thrilled to have had the opportunity to bring after-school running programs to our campus for both boys and girls.

Who or what inspires you?
Every one of my students inspires me in a different way! I think what inspires me most is the way they care for and support one another. A few weeks ago, my Special Olympics team was coming back from a competition in the middle of the day and every 5th grade student at recess stopped playing and started clapping & cheering as our bus pulled into the loop.

Tell us something unique that people may not know about you.
I am also a backyard beekeeper. We currently have 4 registered hives in our residential backyard. I have gotten the opportunity to share that second passion with my students during the Great American Teach-In the past 3 years and they LOVE it! No matter how many times they heard me talk about it, they’re always asking me to share more.


Staff in the Spotlight: Kari Bilancione

What is your role in Pasco County?

I am a Kindergarten teacher at Oakstead Elementary school.

What do you love about your job?

I absolutely love coming into school each day and seeing so many eager and smiling faces. I love knowing I have the opportunity to have an impact on every student who walks into my door. I love seeing my kindergarteners have those “ah-ha” moments. It makes my heart happy to see the students and their families who have been in my class in previous years come back and visit.

Who or what inspires you?

My students inspire me to be the best teacher. No matter what is going on in my life, I am always present with a big smile on my face for them, no excuses. Knowing that I make a difference in those kids lives really inspires me to keep being the best teacher I can for them.

Tell us something unique that people may not know about you.

While I was in college studying to be a teacher, I had the opportunity to visit the Ron Clark Academy and meet some of the amazing educators that work there. I got to watch Mr. Clark deliver a lesson and see all the awesomeness that goes on there!
Oh, and I love all things Disney!

The person who nominated Ms. Bilancione shared, “Going over and beyond.”


Staff in the Spotlight: Katie Jordan

What is your role in Pasco County?

I am currently in my 4th year as a third-grade teacher at Dr. Mary Giella Elementary School. I have been at MGES in SRP positions and now instructional for a combined total of 7 years.

What do you love about your job?

My favorite part of my job is ultimately the students. It is those faces that make me come every day to do whatever I can to help them succeed and to let them know how special they are. The greetings, the visits, the bonding you share over the school years, is truly a blessing to a school teacher or staff member.

Who or what inspires you?

Besides the students, my parents are my biggest inspiration. Both my parents taught me by example what it means to care about others, be kind and do good in this world. They instilled in my heart those values. Secondly, I am inspired by my own educators who all left such positive, lasting impressions on me. From being a student at MGES, to Hudson Middle and then to Hudson High, class of 2006- I have had some of the best teachers, some of which, are still working for Pasco Schools. Teachers who always made me feel valued and supported me to keep learning and growing as a person. Teachers who didn’t give up on me, made me believe in myself and the power I have to make a positive difference in this world. I am so thankful to my parents and my educators for all they have inspired me to be.

Tell us something unique that people may not know about you.

Something unique that people may not know about me is that I got my Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications from University of South Florida and wanted to be an advertising account manager, to try to make an influence in the world of media.


Staff in the Spotlight: Stephanie Arner

What is your role in Pasco County?

I teach art at Chasco Middle School. I am also a member of the leadership team for my school.

What do you love about your job?

I absolutely love teaching my passion-art. I really enjoy teaching my middle school students how to discover their creative potential and be the best version of themselves.

Who or what inspires you?

I am inspired by nature, my travel adventures to London, Paris and Barcelona and the positive relationships with the people in my life.

Tell us something unique that people may not know about you.

I sell my jewelry creations and hand sew couture dresses for dolls.




Page 1 of 2 pages
 1 2 >