Panama City - This week's Golden Apple award winner teaches a first grade exceptional student education class at St. Andrews Elementary school. St. Andrews Elementary serves students from all over Bay County who have emotional or behavioral issues. Teacher Johanna VonGeldern is dedicated to helping her students become the best they can be, one day at a time.
"I love her class," said student Elijah Dyer. Spend just a little time in Ms. VonGeldern's classroom and you know it's a special place. Her students have a wide spectrum of emotional and behavioral issues, but she makes sure that doesn't hold them back. "You really make an impact on children and families when you care, when you want the best for that child and you figure out how to help them succeed," said VonGeldern.
Exceedingly patient, VonGeldern says flexibility is key. "You have to be able to assess hour to hour where the kids are, what are we going to be able to do. I want to be able to push them to the highest level at all times."
She uses things like music and repetition to help key concepts become ingrained in the minds of her students. "She is able to adapt our curriculum to meet a wide variety of needs. If you see her and watch her, you can see the love that she has for those kids," said Principal Pat Webber. "Her loves me and I love her," said Elijah.