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640 Humboldt Avenue
St. Paul
MN
55102

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Sheri Gonsioroski

Email: sheri.gonsioroski@spps.org

Qualifications: 

AA-Inver Hills Community College 

BA-Hamline University 

MA-University of Saint Thomas


 

Sheri Gonsioroski

 

When you are younger, you need that one person that believes in you and forces you out of your comfort zone.  My fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Judith Ronnei, was that person for me. 

 

Mrs. Ronnei believed in me, probably more than I believed in myself. She was tough and had high expectations, seeing beyond my shyness. Mrs. Ronnei gave me responsibilities in the classroom and pushed me out of my comfort zone.  I feel that this allowed me, over time, to come out of my shell and instill in me that I could do anything that I put my mind to, including make the dream of becoming a teacher a reality.  Knowing that Mrs. Ronnei is proud of who I am and what I have become means the world to me. 

 

Besides Mrs. Ronnei’s influence, as long as I can remember, becoming a teacher seemed to be my destiny. My dad even hung a little chalkboard on the back of my bedroom closet door. Often, I could be found playing school with extra worksheets that my elementary school teachers willingly gave to me. My younger sister and my dolls were my first students.

 

When I first started teaching, all of my experience in life had been with young children. I really thought that I wanted to teach elementary school having previously been a nanny, babysitter, and having a younger sister. My first job was teaching third grade in West Saint Paul. However, after two years, things took a turn that I never could have dreamt and I found myself at OWL teaching 7th-12th grade students in the special education program while trying to finish my special education licensure and a master’s degree all at the same time. 

 

After coming to Open World Learning Community (OWL), I realized that my passion really is working with older students. My personality and ability to connect with others is just what this age of students are really looking for. Once I came to OWL, I finally found what felt like “home”. This is where I realized that I was destined to teach Special Education.

 

Personal experiences in my life led me to teach special education.  Just like many others I have anxiety that has caused me to sometimes underestimate my own abilities. My younger sister has ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) and by the time she was diagnosed in elementary school, the educational system was failing her.  Working in the educational system opened my eyes to the inequities that do exist and I vowed from that day forward that I would fight for students with disabilities, so they would never have to feel less and would get the education that they deserve.

 

Out of my immediate family, I am a first-generation college student and the only person to go into teaching. I, myself, am a product of the Saint Paul Public Schools. Besides attending Mann Elementary, I went to Highland Junior/Senior High School. Coming to teach for Saint Paul Schools made things come full circle.  I now give back to the community that educated me, which is pretty special.