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Lone Tree Elementary principal makes education a family matter

LONE TREE – William Arthur Ward once said: “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates and the great teacher inspires.” For Lone Tree Elementary Principal, Mindy Persichina, her elementary school teachers inspired her to blaze a path of teaching. 

As a military child, Persichina moved often, following her father’s reassignments. She attended twelve different schools from kindergarten through 12th grade, sometimes moving in the middle of the year. 

“I was always ‘the new kid.’ I vividly remember those teachers that always made me feel as though I had been with the class since the first day of school,” explained Persichina.

Q & A with Mindy Persichina

What was your first job?

If you had the opportunity to pursue another career, what would you choose?
Who inspires you?
My mother.

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, what would it be? 
I would love to be able to sing.

What was your favorite subject in high school? 

Are you a cat or dog person?
Dog – my dream is to own a French bulldog.

What was your first car? 
VW bug.

Favorite store to browse?  
The Emporium in Castle Rock

Favorite restaurant?  
Cheesecake Factory 

Favorite quote?
"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken."
- Oscar Wilde 

“Mrs. Stafford was one teacher that went above and beyond to make all of her students feel as though they were each her favorite,” remembers Persichina. “She would host a summer picnic for her former students, which was always a great way to stay connected to her, even if you had moved away.”

After receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History and a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education, Persichina’s long-term substitute teaching opportunity at Academy Charter School became a full-time teaching position. 

Persichina eventually moved to Lone Tree Elementary to serve on the Core/Planning Team.  She taught for three years at Lone Tree in the fourth and second grade before landing her first administrative position at Academy Charter School as assistant dean. After one year, she returned to Lone Tree Elementary, first as an administrative intern and then as principal. This history within Douglas County School District has helped Persichina to thrive in her new position at Lone Tree Elementary.

Persichina credits her staff with helping her implement a personalized learning pathway to meet the unique needs of each student. “Each day I am inspired and empowered by the work of our staff members as they strive to refine their approaches to instruction in order to better meet the needs of our students,” said Persichina. 

According to Persichina, Lone Tree Elementary is unique. “Our focus on personalized learning, real-world engagement and providing sustainable learning opportunities for students, through inquiry, helps to set us apart.”

This approach to personalized learning also helps Lone Tree Elementary establish itself as a family, building lasting relationships with staff and families. Persichina has been known to help kids with worries and stresses by working with them to identify unique ways to overcome their specific struggles, arranging for students to arrive early at school to help in the office, classrooms or library, or to take care of an office pet.

Persichina reflected that her own experience of always being the new kid is why she places such a high value on relationship building. 

“I make it a point to know all of my students on a first name basis, and I specifically reach out to all new students by name on the first day of school.  It is important for them to realize that they are already part of our school family. Providing an added sense of belonging can go a long way.”

March 3, 2015 | By SCPaulsen | Category: District, Elementary Education

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