Staff in the Spotlight

Staff in the Spotlight: Valarie Hartley

What is your role in Pasco County?

I am the second grade team leader/ facilitator at Chasco Elementary School.

What do you love about your job?

I love watching the students build their confidence and self-worth. They change their mindset from “I can’t” to “I will.”

Who or what inspires you?

My mother has always been my source of strength and perseverance. She has shown me it is not about how many times you fall but rather about how many times you get back up.

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

I have quite the eclectic range of hobbies from fishing, to theatre and everything in between.

The person who nominated Ms. Hartley shared, “She is one of the hardest working teachers I have ever met!”‬‬‬


Staff in the Spotlight: Jennifer Kynerd

What is your role in Pasco County?

I am a Civics Teacher, Team Leader, and Business Manager for the best school, Hudson Middle School.

What do you love about your job?

The students, they truly inspire me every day. I love being able to make a difference in their lives. I am extremely passionate about Social Emotional Learning within my classroom. I even have a starting routine in my classroom in which I have the students walk around and greet each other individually, then we give each other compliments, and refocus with some yoga breathing. I truly love educating the whole child every day.

Who or what inspires you?

I am inspired by the dedication of the staff and administration at Hudson Middle, everyone here works tirelessly to give the best education possible to our kids. I was so inspired, by the support of my administrative team that I decided to go to graduate school for Educational Leadership.

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

I used to work for Walt Disney World. I love theme parks, so much that I travel around the East Coast trying out new rides and coasters.


Staff in the Spotlight: Amanda Johnson

What is your role in Pasco County?

I have been the Bookkeeper Secretary at Northwest Elementary School for the past three years. Previously, I was an ESE Instructional Assistant for two years.

What do you love about your job?

I love being a Bookkeeper at NWES. I enjoy seeing the smiling faces of the teachers and students when they arrive each morning. I make sure that I am available during arrival to greet each student with a smile and say, “Good Morning”! I can’t forget the amazing staff at NWES! They make each day better than the last.

Who or what inspires you?

My family inspires me. My father is an amazing role model. I hope to instill the same in my children.

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

Something unique is that I currently work for the school that I attended for Kindergarten and First grade. I have come full circle. My two children attend NWES as well. I also have a long line of family members who have or still work for Pasco County Schools.

The person who nominated Ms. Johnson shared, “I want her to be recognized for all her hard work.”


Staff in the Spotlight: Kim Hinson

What is your role in Pasco County?
I am a first grade teacher and team facilitator at Fox Hollow Elementary.

What do you love about your job?
I love my school family and love seeing my students every morning. My students amaze me every day with their enthusiasm for learning!

Who or what inspires you?
My own daughters inspire me to do my best every day. Cassidy, Mikayla and Sydnee have taught me what it truly means to be a great mom and educator!

Tell us something unique that people may not know about you.
My classroom theme is llamas. I picked that theme for the calming colors. I was not really a llama fan. Over the past two years, my classroom has been filled with llama everything! I am so crazy about them now, they have invaded my home too!


Staff in the Spotlight: Chrissy Hellwig

What is your role in Pasco County?
I teach 6th grade at Centennial Middle STEM Magnet School. I am the yearbook advisor as well as coach cheerleading and track. Go CYCLONES!

What do you love about your job?
I love that I get to stand in my classroom doorway and watch the students make their way through the crowded halls just to come tell me about their day. I see their eyes light up and their smiles stretch ear to ear when I tell them how proud I am of what they have accomplished, no matter how small. I love that I am able to reach even the most challenging students on their worst day. I have been able to build fantastic relationships with the students and their families and for this I am grateful. I love being able to make even the smallest difference in a student’s life.

Who or what inspires you?
My daughter inspires me to be the best version of myself every single day. This best version of myself is what I model for my students. My students, past and present, have been and will continue to be the reason why I am proud to do what I do! They may not know it, but they are MY inspirations.

Tell us something unique that people may not know about you.
Something unique that many people may not know about me is that I am the biggest New Kids on the Block fan ever! I have not missed a single concert or television recording since I was 12 years old. I am a BLOCKHEAD for life.


Staff in the Spotlight: Jamie Lopey

What is your role in Pasco County?

I am the Plant Manager at Lacoochee Elementary School.

What do you love about your job?

I love the little smiles, high fives, and" Mr. Lopey" hugs from the students. At Lacoochee we are a family!

Who or what inspires you?

My family inspires me! I am a former student of Lacoochee Elementary School. Dr. Renee Sedlack, former LES principal, has always inspired me to be the person I am today. My grandmother, who drove a school bus for thirty years, always pushed me to never give up and focus on my personal goals.

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

What people don't know about me is that I have a dream to create a Fishermen mentorship program for children.

The person who nominated Mr. Lopey shared, “He has great relationships with the students and knows each one by name.”


Staff in the Spotlight: Frances Stapel

What is your role in Pasco County?
My role is an ESE instructional assistant. I have been at Weightman Middle School since 2005.

What do you love about your job?
What I like most about my job is seeing the children achieve goals and working with incredible educators that are so compassionate.

Who or what inspires you?
I'm inspired by those who model good work ethics, those who own it, believe it and work hard for it every day.

Tell us something unique that people may not know about you.
Something people might not know about me is I once had an advice column in my hometown (Littleton, Massachusetts) newspaper.


Staff in the Spotlight: Carmen Garrison

What is your role in Pasco County?

I am a kindergarten teacher and team facilitator at Chester W. Taylor Elementary School. This is my fifth year in this position and I am also now going into my tenth year of teaching.

What do you love about your job?

I love so many things about my job, but mostly having the privilege and opportunity to work with our youngest learners and impact not only my students, but all of our kindergarten students in some way each year. I love that I get to lay the foundations of each subject area as well as foster social and emotional growth and a love for learning! One of our team commitments is that “Kindergarten should be SUPER fun” each day and I truly believe in this philosophy and feel grateful that I get to honor this commitment with the students at my school.

Who or what inspires you?

I am inspired each day I come to work by the amazing staff at my school who go above and beyond for EVERY student at our school. Their commitment to impact the life of every student inspires me the most. I have never been around a more dedicated group of administrators, teachers, and support staff. I have grown as a teacher and leader in so many ways in the past five years at CWTES!

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

This is definitely a hard question, but some people may not know I am a “softball mom” to two beautiful young athletes. My oldest daughter just recently committed to play softball at the University of North Georgia with an amazing scholarship offer!

The person who nominated Ms. Garrison shared, “She is an amazing asset to the school.”


Staff in the Spotlight: MSgt USMC (ret) Homer Hodges Jr.

What is your role in Pasco County?

I am a Naval Science Instructor (Teacher) in the Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps
(NJROTC) at Fivay High School.

What do you love about your job?

I love the fact I have the opportunity to impact lives of students “real time”. The program which I instruct allows students, if they choose, to graduate and have a career with promotion opportunities day one, because of the NJROTC program.

Who or what inspires you?

I work with low Social Economic Students; providing them the opportunity to leave the area and have a sustainable career and life is all the inspiration I have needed for the past 19 years.

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

I served on active duty in the United States Marine Corp for 22 years and have been in the county for the past 19 years helping students be successful.


Staff in the Spotlight: Jennifer Sybert

What is your role in Pasco County?

I am the front office secretary and guest teacher coordinator for Land O’ Lakes High School. Which can be extremely challenging.

What do you love about your job?

I love my interaction with the students. It’s amazing to see just how much the kids grow into young adults through the years.

Who or what inspires you?

My faith and my family are what inspires me. I know I need to be a role model to not only my own children but for other children and their parents that I come in contact with on a daily basis. In the world we live in right now you never know what little influence you can have on someone to brighten up their day regardless of what they are going through.

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

I am also a pediatric dental assistant. I work for a practice here in the area and have been with them for the last 20 years. This has allowed me to have had the opportunity to know a lot of our families here at the school. Some of the kids here I have known since they were very small children and then to see them graduate is something really special.

The person who nominated Ms. Sybert shared, “She is a rare gem always willing to help anyone who needs help.”




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