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Teacher Spotlight: Stephanie Castellana

Name: Stephanie Castellana

Grade: 4th

Your background:

I completed my first year of college at the University of Arizona in Tucson, and then transferred to UConn in Storrs where I received my bachelor’s degree in Human Development & Family Studies. I then went on to complete my master’s degree in Elementary Education from Sacred Heart University. During graduate school I completed my internship and student teaching at Fox Run Elementary School. The following year I was hired as a fourth grade teacher at Marvin. A few years later I returned to Fox Run to teach 3rd grade for three years. I then returned to Marvin and have been teaching fourth grade ever since. This is my 14th year!

Who is in this picture?

This is a picture of my husband John, our son Luke, and myself. Luke is 20 months and will be a big brother this May. We can’t wait!

What do you love about teaching 4th grade?

I love the books I share with my students. Teaching history and real-life lessons through picture books is one of my favorite things to do.

Teachers are the frontline workers for our children in this pandemic. What has been your biggest challenge or adjustment this year?

The biggest challenge for me this year has been juggling the demands of teaching virtual students and two in-person classrooms.

What is your biggest motivation this year and what are you most proud of?

My biggest motivation this year is students’ desire to learn. They arrive each day, sit at their desks, and put their best effort forth. Student excitement in this new learning environment is what motivates me to adapt and improve my lessons for all virtual and in-person learners. I am most proud of students’ ability to adapt to new situations. Wearing a face mask most of the day and practicing social distancing is something they do better than I anticipated.

Why did you become a teacher?

I became a teacher to be with children. To help them develop their natural abilities and special interests.

A fun fact about you!

I love to snowboard. Stratton Mountain in Vermont is one of my favorite mountains. It is a dream of mine to experience snowboarding out west.

What we love about Mrs. Castellana!

My son Cole, now a 6th grader at Nathan Hale, had Mrs. Castellana at Marvin. Everyday Cole had a fun story of something cool he learned in her class. He always told me she was so patient and kind. As a parent, it was great to have such open communication with his teacher and we had that with Mrs. Castellana. There was never a time I couldn’t reach her and have a sometimes lengthy conversation. Cole definitely matured in her class and grew to really love school, especially reading. Mrs. Castellana gets an A+ from Cole.” - Melanie Wehrheim, former Marvin parent

"Mrs. Castellana is the most wonderful teacher. She supports all of my classmates and she is one of my favorite teachers. Since I can't go into class every day she lets me have a virtual lunch-bunch with my friends and makes me feel part of the class. Also, if one of us has a problem, she doesn't get frustrated and is always there to teach us to learn new things so we can go into 5th grade". - Emma Mangone, current student

"We are so lucky to have Mrs. Castellana as my daughter's 4th grade teacher. She is amazing and makes Emma feel welcome and part of the class even though she isn't in person. I love getting to listen to her morning meetings -- she is so encouraging, kind, and thoughtful with her students and I am so impressed by her ability to balance both in-person and virtual learners. She has also been incredibly supportive and patient with my daughter -- we love you Mrs. Castellana!!” - Marissa Mangone, Marvin parent

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