After 32 years as an ESE teacher, Bonnie Bresnyan still exudes enthusiasm and passion for her craft. Bonnie is blessed with the talent of teaching and has made a difference in the lives of young people for 32 years, 21 of those in Hillsborough County. She earned her BA in Education at Florida Atlantic University and completed her Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction at Tennessee Technological University.
Bresnyan has taught at Folsom, Sulphur Springs, Shaw and Lewis elementary schools. She’s also done extensive training for other teachers within the district because she recognizes that, “We retain 95 percent of what we learn when we teach it to someone else.” Bonnie’s work extends beyond her four classroom walls in that she trains for the District, works with USF in mentoring new teachers and teaches Sunday School.
Among just a few of her many other accomplishments are National Board Certification, 2009 HDC Praeceptor Award winner, 2006-07 Ida S. Baker Distinguished Educator of the Year finalist, 2002-03 Teacher of the Year - Shaw Elementary/District Finalist.
Bonnie holds herself to this standard: “to whom much is given, much is expected.” As a teacher of children who are "differently-abled", she relies on a plethora of strategies, techniques and methods to teach and provide experiences that encourage the development of her students' skills. For instance, she says that, "The cut-away on the curb was designed to allow someone in a wheelchair access to the side walk. What makes it ''universal" is that not just people in wheelchairs use the cut-away; people on bikes use them, parents with strollers and travelers with luggage. As I unpack and teach the standards I, too, must look critically at how I will provide my students with ways to access and process information".
If you really want to get to know Bonnie, just watch her at work. She incorporates voices, puppets, hats, colors, sounds, and music, making learning come alive for students who may not traditionally be viewed as teachable. Bonnie knows better. "Every child CAN learn but every child does NOT learn in the same way." Her advice to other educators is, "Find what you love and are passionate about, and bring that into your classroom. Your joy will be your students' joy"
Bresnyan compares her classroom – of kindergarten and first grade students she describes as “differently-abled,” – to a bee hive. “All the bees can and are expected to contribute in some way to making the honey...each bee has a role within this hive.” And she refers to herself as the "Queen Bee" who knows when to seek help if something is not right, or if she needs another perspective. She uses every resource the District offers, and she herself is a resource to others on her team, at her school, and throughout the district.
So, picture this vivacious and inspiring woman, moving around her classroom, a music beat in the background, wearing a peacock-feather hat, rapping to these lyrics: ''I'm a busy, busy bee, yes that is me. I work in the hive and that's no jive. I read, I write, I do math that's out of sight. The other bees, they work with me. We investigate, cooperate and with each other appreciate - Bzzzzzzzzzz..." The Queen has spoken, and her students learn. It’s a match made in educator heaven.
Tickets are now available for the 2019 EIE award's ceremony, January 24th at the Straz Center for Performing Arts! http://bit.ly/EIE2019
View Full Album