Ask any teacher, and they’ll tell you that the month of May is a busy time in their classrooms. Fortunately, it’s also a good time to show the teacher(s) in your life how much their work is appreciated, with National Teacher Day taking place May 2 and Teacher Appreciation week running May 8-12.
To commemorate the recognition days, we share about a few of the exceptional teachers at Osseo Area Schools who have dedicated their professional lives to the betterment of the district’s scholars.
Royce Winford- Osseo Senior High School
Royce Winford, a teacher at Osseo Senior High School (OSH), decided to work in education after coaching made him realize he wanted to work with scholars in the classroom as well as on the field and court. Starting in the district as an Education Support Professional, he worked at North View and Osseo Middle Schools before becoming a teacher at OSH, where he has worked for four years. As a graduate of OSH, Winford connects with scholars as they prepare for college and life after high school.
Winford has enjoyed the mutual trust, relationships and real life conversations had in working with high school students as a teacher. A highlight for him has been the notes received from scholars letting him know how much they are getting from his class.
“I think one of my strengths as a teacher is building relationships. It is hard to get them to learn what you are teaching until they trust you and want to be present in your space and your system,” Winford said.
One of Winford’s favorite things about OSH is the dedicated, diverse and welcoming staff. He enjoys working with teachers who once taught him, but are now peers and friends.
“The goal as teachers every day is to get here and make an impact on all of our students' lives, but at least one student a day,” Winford said. “If we can show up and be ourselves every day, hopefully that impact transfers onto our students and they want to do the same for someone else.”
In his free time, Winford enjoys spending time with his kids, coaching football and basketball, playing golf, working out and going to movies.
Jean Yang and Jessica Romo - Weaver Lake: A Science, Math & Technology School
Two first-year special education teachers from Weaver Lake have teamed up to co-teach the school’s Connect Program, a level three setting for students with autism spectrum disorder. Both Romo and Yang started out working as educational service providers (ESPs),
The pair said they collaborate and bounce ideas off each other, coordinate ESP staff as needed when one room needs more support.
The two teachers say their jobs are tough, with many challenging days managing the complex needs of their students. However, they say the close-knit special education (SPED) department makes all the difference, in addition to strong leadership from their supportive principal and the help of the rest of the special education community, the school’s social workers, ESPs, due process workers and more who make the classroom work.
They also said they love the elementary school age, where students are at the foundational level of school and can learn skills that will help them all through their school years. They enjoy adding in fun music, social skills activities and games along with their academics.
“This age is just playful,” Romo said. “They’re a lot of fun.”
In order to do the job well, Romo and Yang said teachers need hefty doses of flexibility, patience and compassion each day.
“It’s a highly emotional job, but the rewards and relationships you build are so worth it,” Romo said. “If you really want to make an impact in the community and enrich your life with a job that adds value to the community and your own life, this is it.”
“There are some hard days, and there are some really great days too,” she said. “You have to be really willing to commit to it.”
Andrea Gross - North View Middle School
Andrea Gross went to college to study public health and exercise science, and she entered the workforce in the medical field. It was her involvement in various non-profit organizations such as The Boys and Girls Club, Girls on the Run, and the Big Brother/Big Sister program that she realized she was meant to be working with kids.
Gross leaned on her non-profit work and experience coaching gymnastics to begin teaching physical education and health at North View Middle School while still working to complete her teacher licensure.
She had a challenging start to her new career between teaching five different classes, completing her teaching licensure program in the evenings along with a licensure program for Development Adapted Physical Education (DAPE) programming. Then the COVID-19 pandemic began that spring, requiring a quick study of all things distance learning.
“It was a lot, but it was really nice to be at this school and have such a supportive team, department head, administrators, and just a positive general atmosphere at North View,” she said. “If you come to North View, you will see that the atmosphere here is student-driven and supportive. We have a great team.”
Gross said she loves the fun, goofy nature of middle school students, and she finds it rewarding to walk alongside students as they go through big developmental changes and help them maneuver through different emotions and challenges.
In addition to teaching, she is part of the school’s advisory committee to help with community-building among students and organizing school wide events such as a Unified World Cup tournament, Trivia Thursdays, the March Madness tournament and an upcoming culture day.
“Among her many strengths, perhaps her greatest is Ms. Gross’s ability to connect with her students and develop strong, positive and supportive relationships with them,” said North View Middle School’s principal, Diana Bledsoe. “She expresses care, challenges them to grow and is their strongest advocate. North View is lucky to have her.”
Amy Rosin-Fernbrook Elementary School
Amy Rosin is a Behavior Intervention Teacher (BIT) at Fernbrook Elementary School. She is in her 32nd year of teaching in Osseo Area Schools. She began at Garden City Elementary School and has worked at Fernbrook for the last seven years.
Rosin has always known she wanted to be a teacher. Her dad and many family members were also teachers, and she knew it was in her DNA.
“It is all I remember wanting to be,” Rosin said.
One of the big highlights for Rosin as a teacher was having a former student come to her home as a police officer, who let her know how much of a difference she made in his life.
“Teachers put so much of themselves into this profession, with such good intentions. I see that every day. I think being able to work as a team and having strong communication is the key. We are all doing what we do for the same common goal.”
In addition to being the BIT at Fernbrook, Rosin is the 279 Foundation Liaison, a Team Leader and is a critical core member of the school’s social emotional learning (SEL) team, which she values working with.
“When I think about Fernbrook, the one word I think of is support. This is such a big school, and the support, where you would think it might not be there, is totally here.”
In her free time, Rosin enjoys going for walks in the woods, spending time with friends, live music and reading.