Jonathan LeGrande was only in kindergarten when he first experienced what it meant to be a truly extraordinary educator.
“My kindergarten teacher, Ms. Joan Burns, inspired me to become a teacher,” Jonathan says. “Her patience and love for children impressed me tremendously. She made learning fun by having meaningful hands-on activities. Even though she was going through a divorce and raising young children, she never allowed her personal life to interfere with teaching.”
Today, Jonathan is himself a kindergarten teacher at Florence Elementary. He was named Extraordinary Educator and nominated by his principal, Chiyanna Young.
“When I walk into Mr. LeGrande’s classroom I can feel the love and warmth between student and teacher,” Ms. Young says. “He is an extraordinary teacher who builds great relationships with parents, students, and staff. He is always giving to others and has a positive attitude.”
Jonathan, who has taken a page from Ms. Burns’ book, works with his kindergarteners to help them build their educational foundation for a lifetime of learning. He aims to make his classroom a nurturing, rigorous, and loving environment for each and every student who comes in the door.
“My mission is to reach each child where they are and grow them from there,” Jonathan says. “Every child can reach their potential if given the opportunity.”
Jonathan loves the moment in his students’ lives when the lessons click into place, and students began to grasp and understand new concepts. As a High Point educator, he is thankful that he and his students are given the opportunity to grow together in that way.
“You continue to grow each day and year as an educator,” he explains. “Things are constantly changing, and you need to be willing to adapt with new innovative teaching methods.”
He cites Florence Elementary’s commitment to teachers’ professional development and how beneficial it is, given that teachers must learn just as much as their students year after year.
“I’m proud to be a cowboy at the historic Florence Elementary because of the diverse student body and staff, supportive administration, and professional working environment I work with daily,” he adds. “Florence believes in doing things with fidelity and excellence. My colleagues motivate me to strive for greatness every day.”
Not only does Jonathan bring the building blocks for education to the young minds in his classroom, but he also incorporates plenty of fun and relationship building with his students to ensure they are taught from a young age that school and learning can be a delight.
“I always enjoy dressing up and participating with my class in school spirit events,” Jonathan explains. “My kindergartners really get a kick out of seeing their teacher being involved. It encourages and inspires them to do more for their school.”
Teachers like Jonathan give our youngest High Point students a picture of what it means to be a dedicated educator, and maybe even inspire them to become educators themselves someday. And we think that definitely makes him an extraordinary educator!
Keep discovering our High Points,
Photography by Maria West Photography