Michelle Fontenot (pictured at right with Del Brandt) was a recent guest speaker at the Kiwanis Club of Clermont. She works at a local Middle School in Clermont. Over the past three years, she has taught students in grades 6-8 who have varying degrees of special needs and abilities. Mrs. Fontenot indicated she is the primary teacher for her students and is fortunate to have help from her teacher assistants and a very supportive group of colleagues and administrative team.
The students’ daily curriculum consists of all the core classes and an enrichment class provided on a modified instructional basis. Students are also taught social and independent life skills such as cooking, washing and folding clothes and self-care. Many of the students receive additional services from an occu-pational and behavioral therapist and speech and language pathologists.
Mrs. Fontenot stated that vital to her success as a teacher so far is that she cultivates strong bonds with her students’ families. This, she says, is crucial to each student’s growth and development, since several of them are non-verbal or limited in their ability to communicate effectively. She also helps parents connect with resources and programs to assist individuals with special needs. Mrs. Fontenot mentioned that it was one of these parents who nominated her for the A+ Teacher Award and that is how she received the recognition on Spectrum News 13.
One of the joys Mrs. Fontenot expressed is seeing how much her students can accomplish. She likes to challenge them and watch their individual success. She has been in the educational field for approximately eighteen years in different capacities both in the United States and overseas. She said she enjoys working with children and young people and feels proud to see the way she is influencing and changing lives. Mrs. Fontenot’s presentation was very informative and well received by the members. At her conclusion, President Del Brandt presented her with a Club Pin and thanked her for all she is doing to change children’s lives.