This month's Teacher of the Month features Ms. Serena Keeney-Horsch of Washington Grove Elementary School in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
Keeney-Horsch knew she wanted to be an educator since a young age; she loved school growing up, and even loved receiving school supplies as Christmas gifts. In high school, Keeney-Horsch had an incredible opportunity to participate in a student exchange program in Spain. This experience helped her find her passion for Spanish, which led her to study the language at the university level. While in college, she learned about Teach for America and soon joined the program; this organization gave her the opportunity to unite her three passions – community outreach, the Spanish language, and education – into one job. Her first job was at C.S. 211 in the Bronx where her students, "grew me up and taught me how to be a teacher.
Her next job found her on the opposite coast of the country, in Pomona, California. Here, she taught kindergarten in a dual language program. After a year of teaching, Keeney-Horsch and her husband joined the Peace Corps, which found then in Suriname. The couple taught English to villagers in the local elementary school in a jungle and worked with a literacy group for women in the native tongue of Saramaccans.
After her time in the Peace Corps, Serena enrolled in graduate school at George Washington University where she pursued Bilingual Special Education. The program included a year internship at one of the local elementary schools.
Post-graduation, Keeney-Horsch started a dual language program at Kemp Mill Elementary School alongside Nancy Evans, her formal principal and Barbara Lambert, a teacher colleague. The program was one of the first in dual language programs in Montgomery Public Schools, and after 18 years, it is still going strong.
Continue reading about Ms. Keeney-Horsch on the next page...