Julie Ferrone is a teacher at heart. Growing up as the oldest of nine siblings in Garfield Heights, she was always a leader, mentor and teacher to her younger siblings. “Working with kids was something I've done throughout my years. I’ve just always had a connection to kids,” she said.
Julie, who joined the District in 1995 and has her own large family of six children, and three grandchildren, spent 20 years as a classroom teacher at Lincoln Elementary. She now splits her time as a curriculum and technology teacher at Hayes and Horace Mann elementaries and Lead Mentor for our Resident Educators, who are teachers in their first four years of the profession.
Julie loves how her two positions complement each other as she is able to still be in the classroom helping teachers and students integrate technology into their lessons while also helping new teachers learn the ropes and complete their state requirements.
“I love the flexibility I have in my day that allows me to meet the needs of multiple people in multiple places to help them be the best that they can be,” says Julie.
Beyond the many students she has taught over the years, Julie has had a large impact on her colleagues as well. Says her nominator, assistive technology specialist VernaAnn Kotansky: “Julie's support of her colleagues is astounding. Ever willing to go above and beyond. Julie embodies the 'Lakewood Way'.”
Central Office secretary Sharon Kufel seamlessly supports not one but two departments with dedication, hard work, and plenty of humor. Whether wearing her Teaching and Learning or Information Technology department hat, Sharon deftly juggles the many different - and often urgent - responsibilities that come with being a part of the two busy departments.
Sharon, who grew up outside Buffalo and is a rabid Bills fan, joined the District in 2003 as a building secretary. She held that position at five different elementary schools before moving to Central Office. She credits her superior organizational and juggling skills to her time spent raising her four children and as a building secretary. While supporting two departments may seem daunting to most, Sharon welcomes the challenge: “I am one who doesn’t like to be bored - bring on the work!,” she says.
Sharon’s a quick learner and enjoys learning new things. “I ask a lot of questions,” she says. Peppering the IT department technicians with some of those questions has helped her manage the help desk line for both parents and staff when tech problems arise.
When she’s not working, Sharon spends time with her family, including 10 grandchildren, likes to ride her bike, cross-stitch and read.
Sharon’s nominator, fellow Central Office secretary Colleen Healy expresses what we all feel about Sharon: “Sharon always makes herself available, and makes a demanding job seem effortless. The enduring service and dedication of staff members like Sharon Kufel makes Lakewood the community it is.”