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To honor the important work of our employees, we recognize outstanding substitute teachers, paraeducators, and support staff through our annual Substitute Educator of the Year program. Charles Sheehan, a U.S. Army veteran and paraeducator at Belmont Elementary in Hillsborough County, Florida is the winner of our 2023 Substitute Educator of the Year award for the PreK-12 Paraeducator category.
In this Q&A, Charles shares what he enjoys the most about being a paraeducator.
Why did you become a paraeducator?
After retiring from the US Army 2016, I began working with troubled teens in detention. During the pandemic, my family and I decided to move back home to Florida. I wanted a way to continue to help our kids and work a flexible schedule. Kelly Education was a great way to do both.
What do you enjoy most about being a paraeducator?
Working with, and getting to know, all of the 3rd grade students and teachers at Belmont Elementary. Most of all though, working daily with my Exceptional Student. Being able to watch him grow this year, becoming more confident and independent. He truly taught me more than I could have ever imagined.
What advice would you give to new substitute teachers?
Have patience. Substituting is not easy, but is very rewarding.
What advice do you have for students?
Work hard, stay focused, and put the phones away.
Watch this video to learn more about Charles.
What colleagues say about Mr. Sheehan.
“Most recently, Mr. Sheehan has been a paraprofessional for one of my Exceptional Student Education (ESE) students with unique needs. He has been a consistent and dependable person who meets each day with patience and understanding. He has built a trusting relationship with the student and is able to assist him through difficult times but also guide him to his full potential. Mr. Sheehan has taken time to learn about the student’s disability, to research and collaborate with me about strategies to effectively support him, and has spent his own money to buy extra resources and rewards to encourage the student.
– Carissa McCarron, ESE teacher at Belmont Elementary School
"You will not find a more dedicated, hardworking, patient, consistent, thoughtful person. Belmont has been lucky to find and keep a gem like Mr. Sheehan. In my ten years of teaching, I have met many educators and I have been most impressed by Mr. Sheehan. He has truly made a lasting impact on me in just these few short months."
– Katherine LaCroix, 3rd grade teacher at Belmont Elementary School
Congratulations, Charles Sheehan!
"Charles is a true representative of the high-quality educators Kelly Education provides to its partner schools each day," says Nicola Soares, President of Kelly Education. "He operates with high integrity and makes a clear difference in ensuring a successful learning environment exists in the classroom. We are proud to recognize his commitment with this honor.”
As one of four Substitute Educator of the Year winners, Mr. Sheehan will receive a $5,000 bonus from Kelly Education, as well as $1,500 donated on his behalf to Belmont Elementary.
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