First Grade Teacher
Establishing a loving, caring atmosphere for her students is important to St. Hilary School first grade teacher, Mrs. Monea. “I try to build confidence and self-esteem in every child,” she says. “I like to instill the joy of learning in each of them.” A member of the St. Hilary faculty since 1995, Mrs. Monea previously taught third grade, worked as a reading specialist, and served as a kindergarten teaching assistant. She enjoys teaching first grade because "as much heart as you put into a day of learing, the children give you ten times more,” she says.
Mrs. Monea especially loves teaching reading, and frequently plans special activities to make books a part of her students’ lives. She says she truly enjoys working with parents, as well "I am so blessed to have so many parents who help me, even parents whose children are not students in my class," she says.
Pleased that she is able to incorporate religion in everything she teaches, Mrs. Monea feels that is one of the best attributes of St. Hilary School. Additionally, she says parents, teachers and students work together to make the learning process successful. There is a great sense of community at St. Hilary, says Mrs. Monea. “People go out of their way to help,” she adds.
A graduate of Kent State University, Mrs. Monea holds bachelor’s degrees in both communication and teaching (1-8). She and her husband have two sons. She proudly states that her family is her hobby.
First Grade Teacher
Since 2000, Mrs. Morrocco has enjoyed helping St. Hilary School first graders get off to a good start. She especially enjoys teaching because it allows her the opportunity to help children succeed. “I love it when students ‘get it’,” she says, describing the excitement for both teacher and student when a new concept is understood. Although Mrs. Morrocco teaches all first grade subjects, she is most fond of math and science.
Mrs. Morrocco feels the religious aspect of the St. Hilary educational experience really enriches the school’s offerings. “It is great to be able to approach situations with prayer,” she says. The fact that religion is incorporated into all aspects of classroom teaching in every grade is particularly important. Mrs. Morrocco adds that there is a feeling of community at St. Hilary that is not as common at other schools.
Students in Mrs. Morrocco’s classroom have many opportunities to learn through various techniques. She says her students seem to most enjoy rotating through centers in which they perform various activities. She divides the class into groups, and as the children spend time at each center, they have hands-on opportunities to reinforce what they are learning in class.
Mrs. Morrocco says she enjoys talking with former students who come back to visit her. She says they often recall details from her class that have impacted them in later years. It is gratifying to know that she has made a difference in the lives of her students, she says.
A graduate of the University of Akron, Mrs. Morrocco holds a bachelor of science degree in elementary education (1-8). The youngest in a family of six siblings, she and her husband have three sons. Mrs. Morrocco enjoys camping and boating with her family, as well as reading.
First Grade Teacher
Recalling her own school days has inspired St. Hilary School first grade teacher Miss Riley to create a memorable experience for her students. “I still remember all of my grade school teachers to this day because they made such an impact on me, and I hope to do the same for my students!” she says. “I love how students get excited about topics that many adults take for granted. I also love when the children’s minds are stimulated by a new topic. Their excitement excites me!” A St. Hilary School alumna, Miss Riley says her experience at the school was unique and rewarding. She describes the school as being structured, but allowing room for individuality and expression. “St. Hilary prepared me for a successful high school and college education,” she shares. “I was able to form lifelong friendships with peers who grew up with the same faith and values as me.”
Incorporating hands-on learning that engages and excites students is Miss Riley’s classroom philosophy. She enjoys giving her students opportunities to show their strengths and help build their confidence. Although especially fond of teaching reading, Miss Riley says her favorite subject to teach depends on the students in her class. Professionally, she says, “My favorite area of study is anything to do with education or child development. These areas interest me and help me learn about my students and profession.”
New to teaching in the 2013-2014 school year, Miss Riley previously spent time in a second grade classroom while pursuing her master’s degree, and worked in pre-schools and tutored while earning her bachelor’s degree. She looks forward to a successful first year of teaching, knowing her students in and out of the classroom, having a good relationship with her students and their families, guiding her students in their academic and religious lives, and collaborating with the first grade team.
Miss Riley holds a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies with a concentration in child development from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a master’s degree in early childhood education from John Carroll University. She has a four-year resident educator license for Pre-K – Grade 3. The lone girl among four siblings, Miss Riley is proud that she and her brothers are all St. Hilary School alumna, and have gone on to become a doctor, a firefighter/paramedic, a senior IT consultant, and a teacher. She has wanted to become a teacher since she was in first grade, thanks to her teacher, Mrs. Starkey, who now teaches third grade at St. Hilary. Miss Riley is also proud that she is still the school record holder for the long jump and the 4x100 relay!
First Grade Teaching Assistant
“I love being a part of children’s lives,” says St. Hilary School first grade teaching assistant, Mrs. Ashton. “It is a reward to come to work each day.” Mrs. Ashton has been working with students at St. Hilary since 1994. She says she feels blessed to have a job here, where she can watch kids grow. “I love my job!” says Mrs. Ashton.
The great thing about being a teaching assistant is having the ability to work one-on-one with students and getting to know them well, Mrs. Ashton says. “Many schools don’t have assistants,” she says. “Having assistants here makes for a better ratio in the classroom and allows us to give the kids more individual attention.”
Mrs. Ashton describes her students as being excited about learning, and filled with unconditional love. One memorable event for her each year is helping the students prepare for their parents' social in May. She says the students write essays about their parents, and she describes the things they write as “precious”.
Among the best things about St. Hilary School, according to Mrs. Ashton, is the sense of community. She says the staff is close, and the students become close too, as they spend many years together. “This is a place where you can come and someone is always there for you,” she says.
Mrs. Ashton attended the University of Akron, where she completed coursework in child development. She is married with two grown sons, one of whom served in Iraq with the U.S. military. The other is an attorney. “My family is my greatest accomplishment,” she says. Mrs. Ashton enjoys reading, walking, biking, and scrapbooking.
First Grade Teaching Assistant
Mrs. Hamlin has worked as a teaching assistant at St. Hilary School since 2004, and says she loves her work. The first years of school are exciting, she says, because children at that level are learning to read. “It’s like a light goes on, and a new world is opened for them,” says Mrs. Hamlin.
Working at St. Hilary is special to her because of the family atmosphere, Mrs. Hamlin says. She comments that parents are very involved, and students are generally well prepared for school. Catholic teachings play a role in making St. Hilary stand apart from other schools, she says. “All kids make mistakes, and it’s nice to be able to deal with that in a Christian way,” says Mrs. Hamlin. She feels the presence of religion in the school helps students develop the moral foundation they need for life.
Mrs. Hamlin says she tries to focus on celebrating the accomplishments of her students. By keeping things positive, she feels she can help them be excited about school. Mrs. Hamlin enjoys the innocence of the students she works with, and says they provide a true boost to the spirits. She delights in the genuine hugs and love her students so freely give. “They are just wonderful,” says Mrs. Hamlin of her students.
Mrs. Hamlin and her husband are the parents of two children, both of whom attended St. Hilary School and now attend a Catholic high school. She enjoys family time, knitting and cooking. A graduate of the University of Akron, Mrs. Hamlin holds a bachelor of science degree in business administration.
First Grade Teaching Assistant
First grade teaching assistant Mrs. Kleinman finds her job to be a rewarding experience. "Watching the children grow as students and in their faith is very exciting," she says. "I feel blessed to have the chance to work one-on-one with the children and get to know each of them." One of the highlights of the first grade year, says Mrs. Kleinman, is the first grade reading party. She calls it a turning point for the children, the culmination of weeks of reading activities through which they hopefully develop a love for reading that will stay with them throughout their lives.
Mrs. Kleinman feels St. Hilary School stands apart for its focus on Christ at the center of everything. The sense of community, academic excellence and many long-standing traditions all help to make the school special.
St. Hilary School alumni themselves, Mrs. Kleinman and her husband are the parents of three children, two of whom currently attend the school and one of whom attends a Catholic high school. She holds a bachelor's degree in marketing from the University of Akron, where she completed additional coursework in elementary education. Spending time with her family is Mrs. Kleinman's greatest joy.