Faculty & Staff Spotlights

Joanie Geffen, Middle School Language Arts

Where are you from and where did you grow up?
Born in Minnesota and moved to Texas in the sixth grade. Pretty much a native Dallasite.

Beyond your subject-area or discipline, what life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? 
I have always wanted my students to be strong individuals, without relying on the opinions of others, and to treat others with respect.

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Helene Berke, Middle School Science Teacher

I began teaching in 1990 in Richardson ISD as a Science and Math 6th grade teacher. In 1999, I left teaching to start my family, which includes my three sons, Davis 20, Mason 18 and Amon 14. As soon as Amon entered school, I started working as a children’s clothing designer for web companies, Zulily and GILT. I loved the artistic aspect of the career, but I did not feel I was making a difference in the community. In January of 2018, I joined the wonderful staff of Ann & Nate Levine Academy.

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Felice Rosenfeld, Early Childhood Infant Care Teacher Assistant

What/Who motivated and inspired you to teach?
My mother and my father, as well as my maternal grandmother were all teachers so I guess it was in my blood. I was not an education major in college, rather, I studied broadcasting. When my daughters were both in school, I wanted the kind of job that would allow me to be home when they were. I subbed for one week, back in 1998, and was offered a position as an inclusion teacher. Of course, I accepted and the rest fell into place.

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Shelly Derdiger, Dean of Learning Support

What/Who motivated and inspired you to teach?
One of my college professors inspired me to enter the educational profession. I took his class titled, Abnormal Psychology. After that class, I knew I wanted to be in the profession of helping students with academic and/or behavioral struggles. I continued with graduate school in the field of special education with an emphasis in behavioral disorders and autism.

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