Each week through our Faculty and Staff Spotlight series, we invite our community members to get to know Gulliver Prep teachers and staff members across every division. This week, our Faculty Spotlight features Middle School Learning Specialist, Mrs. Julia Suarez. Read on to learn more!
Q: How long have you been at Gulliver? What brought you here, and what keeps you here?
A: I have been at Gulliver for 11 years. I was drawn to Gulliver’s mission which provides every student with an opportunity to receive a top-notch education that fulfills their potential. I am blessed to be a part of the Gulliver family as the opportunities to grow professionally are endless. These opportunities are directly impacting the growth of our students and faculty.
Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: One thing only a few know about me is that prior to discovering my passion for teaching, my first career was in the hospitality industry. I worked for a few years in my family’s catering business.
Q: As a learning specialist, what does a typical day look like for you?
A: A typical day begins by checking in with individual students that I work with. We chat about classes, assignments, and upcoming projects. This check-in helps with scheduling a time for us to work together. Then, I focus on planning upcoming executive function lessons for students and I meet with teachers to discuss student progress, curriculum, and much more. Depending on the time of year, I may also be organizing testing for our campus. In between meetings, I am replying to emails and working with students. I also have supervision duties throughout the day.
Q: Have you always taught Middle School students? Tell us a little bit about your path to becoming a learning specialist.
A: I have always taught Middle School, and I love it! This age is truly special. I was teaching for 12 years in the classroom when the opportunity arose. As a learning specialist, I could work directly with any student in the Middle School to support their learning, and the possibilities excited me. I could also work with teachers and provide them with helpful strategies to strengthen their pedagogy. It has been three years since I began working with students and teachers in this capacity and every day I grow much more.
Q: What are your proudest moments, personally and professionally?
A: My proudest personal moment was the birth of my two children. Professionally, I have recurring proud moments when I reconnect with former students and I hear about their successes.
Q: What are your goals for this school year?
A: This school year has been different in many regards due to the pandemic, yet my goal remains the same. I would like to build strong relationships with faculty, students, and families.
Favorite meal: Florida stone crabs with mustard sauce
Last book you read: Neuroteach: Brain Science and the Future of Education by Glen Whitman and Ian Kelleher
A hobby you picked up or went back to during quarantine: Gardening
Guilty pleasure TV show: Reruns of “Friends”
Current favorite recipe: Baked cinnamon crème brûlée french toast with raspberry preserves