The Suburbanite
  • Teacher Feature: Devon Parks, Strausser Elementary School

  • Devon Parks is a first-grade teacher at Strausser Elementary School, a first-year teacher at Jackson Local Schools and is teaching fulltime for the first time since graduating last spring.

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  • Devon Parks is experiencing a lot of firsts this year. She is a first-grade teacher at Strausser Elementary School, a first-year teacher at Jackson Local Schools and is teaching fulltime for the first time since graduating last spring.
    Among all the other first-time experiences for her, this is the first time she is the featured teacher for Jackson Local Schools. Parks credits her second-grade teacher with inspiring her to teach.
    “I’ve known since I was in second grade that I wanted to be a teacher and have spent most of my life preparing to teach by doing things like teaching Sunday school,” Parks said.
    Meet Devon Parks
    Home: She was born and raised in Canfield, Ohio, in Mahoning County and now lives in the Portage Lakes area.
    Family: Both of Parks’ parents still live in Canfield. She also has a brother in college and a sister who is a teacher at a school in Pennsylvania.
    Teaching position: First grade.
    Credentials: Parks earned a Bachelor’s Degree in education and a reading endorsement through Walsh University in North Canton. She is an intervention specialist.
    Likes to quote: “Reach for the moon, even it you miss, you’ll be among the stars.”
    Memorable book: Books by Nora Roberts, especially while on the beach in the summer.
    Favorite color: Purple. “I’m right at home here with the purple and gold.”
    Music: “I like more contemporary country western music.”
    Likes to watch on TV: “Bones” on Fox. “I think it is cool how the main character thinks and figures things out.”
    Favorite time of the year: Winter is Parks’ favorite time of the year because her birthday is in the winter.
    Role model: “My second-grade teacher is my role model. She really cared about what we were learning in the classroom. She individualized and personalized learning.”
    Favorite insect: Ladybugs. “My dad used to call me ‘Bug’ when I was little, and I’ve gotten lady bug ornaments for years for Christmas.”
    Favorite food: Pasta. She is Italian and grew up on all types of pasta and gnocchi.
    Three things to do in this lifetime:
    1. Visit Italy
    2. Buy a house
    3. Own a boat
    A-ha moment that changed her life: “When I student taught in January, I had a little boy who was struggling and I saw him grow and learn while I was there, and I thought I changed someone’s life because of teaching.”
    Three words that she would use to describe herself:
    Page 2 of 2 - 1. Creative
    2. Fun-loving
    3. Understanding
    Most creative when: Thinking about activities for the kids to do in class.
    I really wish I knew how to: Speak Spanish fluently.
    Secret talent: “I love to bake, and I’m actually a pretty good baker.”
    A favorite classroom moment: “We just had an apple party in class. We’ve been studying Johnny Appleseed and how apples were introduced to Ohio. We made caramel apples and painted seasons of apple trees, did hand prints with apples and measured ourselves with apples to see how many apples tall we all were. Jacob was the tallest with 24 apples. It was a day the kids were looking forward to, and we all had a good time.”
    What others are saying: “Devon is a wonderful teacher to work with,” said Bethany Grubb, also a first grade teacher at Strausser. “She brings fresh new ideas to our grade level and uses up-to-date teaching strategies and technologies in her classroom. She’s also a quick learner and has made a positive impact on parents and the community.”

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