BOWIE – Northview Elementary second grade teacher Lesley Boone has always been fascinated with how brains develop and has held a passion for education.
In college at Purdue, Boone sought out the speech and hearing sciences and began working with special education classrooms when she volunteered with a Head Start Program.
“I’m kind of fascinated with how the mind works and the development of children and making those types of gains,” she said. “And it is not easy. It’s a very emotionally demanding profession.”
Early in Boone’s career, she discovered the lasting impact students could have on her and the difference she could make for them. While she taught in New Jersey, she and another teacher worked on a plan to help a special education student learn to blow his nose and drink from a straw on his own.
People often take little actions like that for granted, she said, but helping a student master such tasks pushes them a little closer to independence and lifts a great burden off their families.
“When you teach a child that, it gives the child more independence as well as the parents,” she said.
It is work like this that shows Boone takes the education of her students personally. While she now works in general education, she still has a vested interest in her students succeeding and said she often stays up until midnight looking at data and working out how to better help her students succeed.
“It’s not something you can just put in the ‘out’ basket and do it later. You’re constantly thinking about your students,” she said. “It’s not something that you just turn off. You’re always thinking about them.”
In her classroom, her students are a family and that kinship continues throughout their time at Northview.
Boone has many “families” in her life beyond her classroom as well. She credits much of her success with the teams she has worked with, whether it is the team she works with now or the many teams that she has been a part of in her career.
“It just seems that wherever I have worked, you develop that sense of family and I’ve been very lucky because I’ve been surrounded by great teachers. You learn from each other and it makes you, not just a better person, but a better teacher,” she said.
Boone is incredibly humble and says she likes to “fly under the radar,” but has also taken on a number of responsibilities. She is a National Board Certified Teacher, who just earned her recertification, and is a mentor to other teachers working toward their certification. She has also worked with the U.S. Department of Education on Teach to Lead, is a former Bowie Teacher of the Year and is currently pursuing her doctorate degree.
She likes to keep busy.
“It’s a lot of hard work but its just been a great experience,” Boone said. “Looking at myself in high school, I don’t think I had this journey in mind, but it’s been great.”