As Morgan Woods Elementary celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, kindergarten teacher Sheila de Diego is enjoying her 46th year at the Town ‘n’ Country school.
She’s practically an institution on campus and in the community. She can rarely go anywhere without bumping into one of the estimated 1,000 former students who have come through her classroom since 1972. While the neighborhood has changed – “I really was going to the woods. There was nothing around here back then,” she insists students are still largely the same.
But “expectations have changed.”
She used to teach letters and letter sounds throughout the year. Now, many students already arrive with that knowledge, thanks in large part to pre-K programs. Students are more tech-savvy than their predecessors, which comes in handy at Morgan Woods, part of a STEM-innovation hub that offers programs such as robotics and computer programming.
On a recent day, she led guided reading while other students worked on a writing assignment about onomatopoeia. After walking her students to lunch, she helped everyone get their food. While she has taught multiple grades, but mostly kindergarten is her favorite.
“I think it’s the growth,” she said. “You can see it. They want to learn.”
Sheila de Diego wants students to leave her classroom with a love of learning. She hopes to see quite a few former students and colleagues March 22 when Morgan Woods celebrates its 50th anniversary (Visit the school website to RSVP for that event).
She stayed at Morgan Woods for so long because it’s a true community school, one where children’s children eventually attend. Her own now-adult children also walked the halls once upon a time.
While de Diego retired once, it didn’t stick beyond the summer. She was back in school on Day 1. When did she know she wanted to come back?
“Oh, she said, “I knew I wanted to come back before I left.”View Full Album