Educator Spotlight: Flynn & Oliveri
Congratulations to December Educator Spotlight honorees, Lauren Flynn of Lakewood High School and Stephanie Oliveri of Grant Elementary! These two have been singled out by their peers as outstanding employees and colleagues. Click on Read More below to find out more about this fabulous pair!
Lakewood High School social studies teacher Lauren Flynn is not a fan of the spotlight. She prefers to work quietly as a teacher nurturing relationships with students and staff built on the competencies of our Vision of a Lakewood Educator. They are competencies that Lauren has displayed throughout her 22 years with the District, not only through her teaching but also through her work over the years with Peer Mediation, Facing Our History group and her proactivity when it comes to raising awareness surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion.
Early in her career, Lauren created the popular LHS elective, Pop Culture, specifically to raise awareness about representation in the media and initiate discussions around race in an engaging way with students. The discussions continue more than a decade later.
Lauren’s nominator, Principal Joy Morgan, praises Lauren for her straightforward communication and willingness as department facilitator to have tough conversations.
“Lauren consistently communicates with me and her department to provide feedback and direction when needed. She is approachable and is willing to have difficult conversations for the benefit of her students and colleagues,” Joy says. “I can rely on her to give me helpful feedback to move LHS in the right direction.”
Growth mindset is another strong suit for Lauren, who strives to remain flexible and adaptable in order to keep up with her students. “We need to be willing to change with our students,” she says.
Lauren’s time as department facilitator these past two years has also offered her a chance to flex her growth mindset skills as she stepped out of her comfort zone to take on the role. Her boss has taken notice: “Lauren is a model for her department in terms of taking on new challenges and persevering through change,” Joy says, adding “Lauren is a leader at LHS and tries to create an environment that is welcoming for teachers and students.”
Grant Elementary cafeteria lead Stephanie Oliveri thought she was going to be a teacher when she started college, but learned it wasn’t for her. However, her desire to work with children still burned bright and she is grateful to have found a job where she is able to be a small part of students’ day - for some, it may be the best part of their day!
“If I can help bring them something positive when they are having a bad day, I like to do that,” says Stephanie.
Stephanie, who joined the District in 2018 as a cashier at Emerson, often finds herself calling on her Vision of a Lakewood Educator competencies in order to provide the best dining experience for Grant students as she is able. With the green light from her boss, nutrition services supervisor Jacob Green, Stephanie has tapped into her creativity to try out new recipes in her effort to keep the menu exciting for students.
Her boss appreciates this willingness on Stephanie’s part to stretch her skills. “Stephanie is always very willing to try new things and seeks to provide her students with new and healthy foods,” Jacob says.
Although the tinkering and changing of menus can cause more work initially, Stephanie feels the payoff is worth it. “It makes me so excited to see the kids excited about coming into the cafeteria” when they know there is a food item on the menu they like or want to try,” she says.
Stephanie also keeps the Vision’s global awareness competency in the forefront of her mind as has goals of eventually bringing food recycling and sustainable trays to her cafeteria. It’s one of the many ways that Stephanie is striving to make a difference for her school community.