The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 10 No. 2 - October 7, 2009


New teacher meets kids, parents

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Laura Redeker talks with Kendall Johnston while her
mother , Heidi, holds her little sister, Addision, and her
big sister, Kiera, watches.

HOLMES BEACH – Laura Redeker spent last week settling into her new classroom at Anna Maria Elementary School.

To the former Island resident who attended middle and high school by crossing the bridge to the mainland every day, it was like a homecoming as she prepared to meet the parents of her new classroom of kindergartners.

These children were gleaned from the two existing classroom that were deemed to be too full for county standards following a first-week classroom count that showed a higher than expected enrollment. Classrooms from kindergarten through third grade have a maximum of 18 students.

Redeker, whose in-laws are Dale and Kit Redeker, seasonal residents who help run the Annie Silver Community Center in Bradenton Beach, has been teaching for 15 years at Ballard and Daughtrey elementary schools. She has a degree in early education from the University of South Florida and is working on her doctorate at Sarasota’s Argosy University. She is a nationally board certified teacher. Her younger sister attended Anna Maria Elementary and, she said, “I was everybody’s babysitter when we live here.”

When she found out there was an opening at AME, she checked it out and decided to make the jump.

“The word on the street is that teachers don’t transfer from Anna Maria Elementary, they retire from Anna Maria Elementary,” she said.

When the parents arrived Wednesday, ahead of their children who were being rounded up from their soon-to-be former classrooms, she visited with everyone. Finally, the kids entered, wide-eyed and saw that parents were also there.

The kids had already met Redeker in the room the day before, and she had taught them things such as high fives and sitting on the floor (criss-cross).

“I’ve been thinking about you, and about how much fun we’re going to have,” she told the kids, leaning down to their height. “In fact, I thought about it so much I couldn’t sleep.”

She asked them what they did when they met earlier.

“We had cookies,” one observant student said.

“What else,” she asked.

“We moved furniture,” another said.

“That’s right,” she said. “We made a choice.”

She finally asked the kids what was missing from their classroom.

“Desks,” somebody said.

“When you go home tonight, Miss Shirley (custodian Shirley Beard) and I and a lot of grownups will bring in your desks.”

Following the first-week count, AME Principal Tom Levengood told The Sun that they would be hiring a new teacher to occupy a first-floor classroom for the school’s third kindergarten class. Since all the classrooms in the new school campus were full, he ended up putting the new class in the classroom used by Heather Nyberg’s fifth graders and they were moved to a portable classroom next to the caboose.

“The portable does not have a bathroom and kids would have to use the one in the art room,” Levengood said. “I knew that would not be acceptable for kindergartners.”

Nyberg’s old classroom, like those in the school campus, shares a bathroom with an adjacent classroom and it has a sink in the classroom to clean up spills that may occur with the youngsters.

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