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A perfect fit: Meet Elementary Educator of the Year Danielle Bernardo of Cascade View Elementary
Part of the first crop of teachers and students to work in Cascade View Elementary when it opened in 2005, Danielle Bernardo has spent her entire teaching career here. “This is my ninth year teaching,” she wrote. “I started here in fourth grade … and I haven’t left yet! It’s the perfect fit for me!”
Bernardo came to Washington from the east coast, where she received a bachelor’s liberal arts degree from Holy Cross College near Boston, and a master’s in history at New York University. She also attended City University in Bellevue, receiving a master’s degree in teaching in 2005.
What do you love about teaching?
There is absolutely nothing like the face of a child, shining with pride in a new concept learned or hard work accomplished. I love encouraging my students to discover their talents and abilities. As a teacher, I have the privilege of fostering a love of learning in my students and watching their confidence grow. I love spending my days with these bright, sweet, funny, energetic children. They are wonderful!
Did you always want to teach?
I always loved school and learning. I was fortunate to have many outstanding teachers throughout my academic career. At first, I thought I wanted to teach at the college level. After starting my own family, I realized the profound impact that teachers have on younger students. Listening to my own children share their school stories and experiences led me to pursue elementary teaching as a career. I was, and continue to be, inspired by the many talented teachers in the Snoqualmie Valley School District. My children were fortunate to have such master teachers as Pat Jordan, Fay Rene, and Joyce DeLurme. These educators served as my mentors and role models.
How do you feel you help create “a positive scholastic environment” ?
I create a positive scholastic environment by keeping my energy positive and fun. We learn from and laugh at my mistakes. I try to engage all my students in learning by keeping the pace upbeat and my words full of encouragement and praise. I publicly notice progress and improvement. I call out my thanks to students who are on task and working hard. I try to be unfailingly polite and respectful to my students. I love being in room 18; it’s a happy, safe place to grow and learn!
What do you do for fun when you’re not working?
When I’m not working, I spend time with my three fabulous children. I love watching “my” Steelers play football and cheering for Gonzaga basketball (my daughter is a sophomore at Gonzaga). I enjoy reading historical fiction, floating in Pine Lake, and traveling to Florida to see my parents. I can never get enough of the sunshine and the beach! I love my monthly bunco nights with the most amazing and supportive friends; we’ve been playing and laughing together for over 10 years!
What do your students teach you?
My students remind me to find the joy in life’s simple moments. They show me the wonder and excitement of new learning. They teach me that a smile and a word of praise can turn someone’s whole day around! Those simple acts of kindness never fail to brighten our days.