The Teacher Feature blog series celebrates our faculty’s passion for education and their joy in the journey of building our students’ futures. In this series, we will get to know these beloved educators. Just like our students and families, our instructors matter here. To learn more, visit our website.
It was fate.
Mrs. Desiree Rodriguez was driving down Collier Parkway exploring her new hometown, when she came across a beautiful school called Academy at the Lakes.
“I was just driving by and I saw this little sign and I said, ‘I wonder what that is?’ We drove in and it turned out to be a school,” Mrs. Rodriguez said with a smile. “It was just one of those things.”
She went inside, spoke with Lower Division Administrative Assistant Ms. Twila about the school and immediately submitted an application, took a tour, and interviewed with the Lower Division Director, Mrs. Kapetanis.
Soon, Ms. Twila called her in to substitute teach a class.
Mrs. Rodriguez’s joyful journey had begun. That was in 2007.
Before stumbling upon Academy, Mrs. Rodriguez always knew she wanted to be a teacher.
She babysat, worked as a nanny, and worked at summer camps through high school and college. She eventually majored in Elementary Education at the University of Tampa, interned at various elementary schools, and even worked at a daycare throughout college.
“My jobs always revolved around children,” Mrs. Rodriguez said.
As someone who is a strong believer in letting things fall in to place, Mrs. Rodriguez followed the path set in front of her, gracefully accepting changes as they came, before she finally settled into a 2nd Grade teaching position.
“I said, ‘If it is meant to be, then all the cards are going to unfold the way I want them to.’ And they did. And I’ve been happy since.”
In her time at Academy, she has taught 1st and 2nd Grade, and beginning in 2013, began teaching Spanish and Technology to PreK3 through 4th Grade.
“It has been a wonderful journey. My kids love it here. I’ve met some amazing people here,” Mrs. Rodriguez said. “I can honestly say that I enjoy getting up in the morning and going to work. I’m very thankful.”
Teacher Tidbits: Get to Know Mrs. Rodriguez
Color: brown, tan, & pink
Animal: I am not big on animals due to allergies, but I love my black lab.
Kind of Music: Love my 80’s music and also enjoy many of today’s hits.
Food: I LOVE SUSHI!!
Villain: The Joker
Superhero: Fictitious superhero would be Superman, but in real life it’s my mom!
Finish the Sentence
My favorite subject in school was reading. I always enjoy a great book.
When I was in 2nd grade, I wanted to be a TEACHER! I always played school with my younger brother and cousin using my grandmother’s AVON box tops as my chalkboards.
I love when my students show so much excitement when I teach something new and creative that involves technology. Their little eyes light up like bright stars and it makes my day.
I love teaching at Academy at the Lakes because from the first day I walked into this school, I’ve always felt a warm and welcoming presence. I am surrounded by an amazing group of coworkers who never think twice about lending a helping hand and students who are always eager to learn.
When I am not at school, I like to read and spend time with my family.
The best advice anyone ever gave me was “If at first you don’t succeed, get up and try again.”
In the movie of your life, what actor would you want to play you and what would the movie be called?
In the movie of my life, Zoe Saldana would play me and it would be called La Maestra.
If you could have any super power, what would it be?
If I could have any super power, it would be to heal.
If you could interview anyone, alive or dead, real or fictional, who would you interview and what would your first question be?
I would love to interview Dr. Seuss and ask “Where did he get the idea for the title Cat in the Hat?”
If you could have any artist (alive or dead) draw a picture of you, who would you choose?
I would choose Picasso.
If you could go back in time, where would you go and what would you do?
I would go back into the 1950’s because they had cool music, clothing and all that energetic dancing.
If you could live the life of any fictional character, what character would you choose?
I would be a shape shifter (panther) with supernatural powers.
We had Mrs. Rodriguez’s students answer one question: What is your favorite thing about your teacher?
These are some of the responses: