Kindergarten Instructional Assistant
Meet Ms. Lisa!
Meet our Kindergarten Educational Assistant Lisa Beckman
Lisa was born in San Jose, CA. Both of her parents went to San Jose State University. Her dad was the first to go to college in his family. He received his MBA after the Korean War. Her father got a job working for North American Rockwell Company. This took their family all over the state of California. Her family moved quite a bit but Lisa’s parents always made sure to have a home that was walking distance to an elementary school for Lisa and her sister. Later down the road Lisa’s dad took a job with Xerox and they moved to Orange County where they built their very first home in Mission Viejo. Lisa grew up learning everything there was about sports from her dad. He taught her to throw, run, catch, and kick a ball. Lisa and her siblings became active in sports at school. When Lisa was at the end of her 8th grade year her father got a job at the Xerox headquarters in Rochester, New York. This was a tough move for Lisa and her family because they would leave behind all of their family. They moved to the suburbs of Rochester and Lisa began High School. Because there were no professional sports there, High School Sports were extremely popular. Lisa’s previous involvement with sports gave her the confidence she needed to be the new kid at school. She quickly made friends while joining the Soccer, Basketball & Softball teams. Her parents were very supportive in both sports and academics. School came easy for Lisa and she enjoyed learning. Lisa and her close group of girlfriends from high school all went on to play sports in college. Lisa liked New York but knew she was not an easterner. Her dad had been recruiting employees from several IVY League schools for Xerox so he helped Lisa with her search for a college. In the end Lisa felt a pull back towards the west coast and chose Santa Clara University in California. It was a small school which allowed Lisa time to study and play on their soccer team. Her senior year she played on the school’s first collegiate level soccer team. She graduated with a degree in Finance and got a job with Lockheed Martin, doing budgets and proposals for the Trident Missile. During her 9 years there she met and married her husband, Dave. When Lisa and Dave decided to start having children Lisa knew living in California her whole paycheck would go to daycare. Both her and her husband were raised by stay at home mom’s, so she decided to give it a shot. They learned quickly that Living in the Bay area was tough to live on one income. Dave, who grew up in Wyoming told Lisa that she would love Colorado. She had never been there but Dave convinced her to visit over the summer. After seeing the mountains and how beautiful the state was she agreed to leave California again and move to Colorado.
Lisa spent the next 18 years raising her two kids, Kevin and Kelly. When her youngest, Kelly was in High School Lisa thought about joining the workforce again. She had been volunteering at her kids school, Franktown Elementary over the years and her husband suggested she talk to the Principal about giving her a reference for her resume. Instead, the principal ended up offering her a job at the school! The school's current EA teacher would be taking leave because she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Lisa, having gone through Breast Cancer herself in her 40’s had felt she had been blessed with a second chance and wanted to do something else with her life. This was a perfect opportunity. Lisa came on staff part time as a substitute teacher for students with severe and special needs. The following year Lisa was hired as an EA full time for grades 2-6. With her finance degree she was able to help teachers at the school teach Math. At the end of the year Lisa unfortunately lost her job due to school budget cuts. One of her fellow teachers got online to look at the District job postings and mentioned to Lisa that there was a job opening for a part time EA at Renaissance. She told Lisa how perfect the school would be for her because of Lisa’s love for teaching and the outdoors. Lisa applied and was called in for an interview. It had been many years since Lisa had interviewed with a school and she was very nervous. She met with Julie Vrattros and Andrea Bollman and felt right at home. Lisa was asked to come back for a second interview and a chance to meet Kathy, one of the kindergarten teachers. Kathy and Lisa hit it off immediately, both being close in age and having grown children was an easy starting point for them. Renaissance offered Lisa a job working full time for the school. Lisa was so excited!! Her first day there she was greeted by Deborah. Lisa laughed and said she was so nervous at her first interview she couldn't remember anyone’s names and she thought Ms. Andrea was the principal! They all thought this was very funny!
Lisa is now in her 10th year teaching with Ms. Kathy. Lisa’s job as an EA plays a key role in the classroom. She supports Ms. Kathy in teaching the crew and making sure that each student is getting the most out of their learning. Kathy will do assessments on the students in class then divide the children into groups based on where their learning is at. Lisa will then meet with children in groups ranging from 2 to 6 children. Their morning is focused on Literacy, Reading and Writing. If Kathy notices a child or a group of children that are struggling they will go to Lisa for more focused instruction. Lisa feels being able to work with children in a small group is her strong point and she really enjoys being able to help them. Kathy said this about working with her, “Lisa’s title may be Educational Assistant but she is much more. She is amazing at helping with all of the important things that I just don't have time to do. Lisa also has fun doing expeditions with the students. Right now they are practicing being scientists and doing experiments. The crew is learning that by asking questions it can help them figure something new out. Lisa and Kathy lead the children in doing experiments on their own and teach them to be in charge of their learning. Lisa has the pleasure of spending all day with the Crew , she is with them in the classroom at lunch, recess and at their IA’s. Lisa has always loved, Art, Music & PE and is happy to be doing it along with her students. When asked what she enjoys most about Renaissance, Lisa said “ All of it! The outdoor emphasis is fantastic. Look at where we live, I think every school here should do what we do. I have seen first hand and learned that some kids who struggle academically will go right into P.E. and do archery and rock climbing. Mr. Doug has told them that he struggled in school once too but if you persevere and you keep trying your best and keep practicing you will get better in and outside of the classroom.”
Lisa’s hope is that students love school as much as she did. She said “Kindergarten is a joyful place and sometimes at my age that is easy to forget because my children are grown. They are so excited when they come into the classroom and have so much to share with us. I just love it! I feel like teaching for me is giving back. I have had a lot of blessings in my life and if I can help kids or their parents, that is AWESOME!” Lisa mentioned that there is a great quote written in the Kindie hall that says “For learning you need a relationship” Lisa has proven this true will all of her students. You can tell by the way she is greeted and hugged by her students everyday that they have a wonderful relationship with her and enjoy having her as a part of their Crew. When Lisa is not at school she is most likely spending time outdoors. She loves to read, bike ride, and walk her dogs on her property in Franktown. She enjoys hiking and camping with her husband Dave who is still working in aerospace and is semi retired.
Here is what some parents had to say about Ms. Lisa:
Ms. Lisa has played a major role in my son’s learning. He struggled as a reader at the beginning of the year. But once he began working with Lisa in a small group we saw huge progress. Because of her help he is more confident as a reader and loves books! ~Parent
I love volunteering in the classroom because it is amazing watching Ms. Lisa work with the kids on Math and Reading. She is extremely patient and kind, and you can tell by the way she talks to the kids she enjoys them just as much as they do her. She is a blessing! ~Parent
Thank You Ms. Lisa for sharing your kind heart and love for teaching at our school! You are making a difference every day!