Feb. Spotlight: Byndas, Campfield & Portik
Three is the lucky number for this month's Educator Spotlight! Congratulations to Harrison Elementary intervention specialist Rebecca Byndas, Emerson Elementary cafeteria leader Kim Campfield and Lakewood High head swim coach Patricia Portik! Click on Read More to find out why these three are deserving of the February honor.
As a teacher, Harrison intervention specialist Rebecca Byndas from the beginning has been about challenging herself and finding ways to create a sense of community and belonging in the classroom.
“She is always trying to figure out how to incorporate different things to include all students,” says Rebecca’s nominator, paraprofessional Elizabeth Stoneman.
When Rebecca realized that her preschool classroom included two students who are deaf, she knew she wanted to do something that would make them feel included. So she decided to learn sign language. Talk about a growth mindset!
Elizabeth says that Rebecca is the first teacher in the 14 years she’s been working in the district that she has known to learn sign language to help a student. It warms Rebecca’s heart when she sees students signing to each other in the classroom. “It is amazing to see the progress in such a short time,” she says.
Rebecca joined the District in 2015 as a general education teacher and recently earned her special education certification for preschool. She loves seeing the great growth that happens at that young age.
With three educators in the Harrison preschool room, collaboration is paramount and Rebecca embraces the team approach.
Says Elizabeth: “Rebecca is the ideal team player. She is willing to learn and change things that need to be changed to aid both staff and students needs.”
Emerson Elementary cafeteria leader Kim Campfield has only been in her position since August but in that short time she already has made quite an impression on both her boss and the students.
“Kim was recently promoted to leader at Emerson and has really taken ownership of her new role and has put in a lot of effort to do the best job she can,” said Nutrition Services Supervisor Jacob Green, Kim’s nominator.
Kim, who joined the District in 2018 when she moved here from Virginia, was excited for her new leadership role at Emerson and approached it with a growth mindset: “I wanted to spread my wings and learn new things,” Kim says.
Kim exhibits our Vision of a Lakewood Educator competencies through her creative thinking as well. A great example is when she was asked to come up with an alternative to a peanut butter sandwich for students with allergies. She was proud to develop a healthy cold lunch selection that still appeals to many students.
Kim’s excellent communication skills come across whether she’s talking with her supervisor about new ideas for food offerings or making sure to say hello to every student she serves. She doesn’t let a student pass through the line without a quick “How you doing, sweetie?” She says it’s the southern hospitality in her.
Kim’s supervisor, Jacob, is among many who are grateful for Kim’s move north to Ohio. Jacob believes Lakewood City Schools is lucky to have Kim, and we agree!
After a number of years experiencing a carousel of coaches, the Lakewood High swim team has found itself a steady captain at the helm in Patricia Portik. In her third year as the Ranger head coach, Patricia has drawn on many Vision of an Educator skills to create a team culture that promotes empathy, collaboration, communication and a growth mindset.
“Building team culture is a big part of what I’m trying to do,” says Patricia. “We want to create a buzz (about the team) so people want to be a part of it.” She has challenged herself to grow the team’s numbers after seeing its ranks dwindle during the pandemic fallout.
Patricia tapped into her creative thinking skills to come up with a fun way to motivate swimmers to strive for their best times by awarding each swimmer who achieves a personal record time with a banana that has the swimmer’s new time written on it. The kids love it.
She also has made it a team staple to have those who aren’t swimming an event to cheer mightily for the competitors at the end of their lane. And if one of the opposing team’s swimmers has no one to cheer them on, the Rangers will cheer for them, too.
Patricia, who has been around competitive swimming and pools for most of her life, employs her excellent communication skills and her natural empathy to connect with her swimmers both as a coach and mentor. She said she is flattered and grateful to be in a position to offer guidance to swimmers in matters both in and out of the pool.
Patricia’s nominator, teacher and softball coach Lucas Yousko, notices the connections Patricia has made: “The relationships she has built with her swimmers is a perfect example of how to coach in 2022/23, and keep kids engaged,” he said.