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Get to know: Joyce Deaux

deauxIf your child knows more about the U.S. states and capitals than you do, it’s probably because of Mrs. Deaux.

Incredibly humble, Mrs. Deaux is the creator of the wildly popular first grade states and capitals curriculum. As the assistant teacher to both first grade classes, she supports the classroom teachers through a variety of tasks and helps students become experts on the fifty United States. “Her knowledge of our country and her life experiences energize the students,” said first grade teacher Allison Weaver. “She really gets them excited about learning.”

Students learn the location, capital, bird, tree, flower and quarter for each state, along with other interesting facts such as landmarks and football teams. She also encourages them to start a quarter collection, which typically gets other family members involved in the fun. It’s not unusual to see parents take an interest in the state quarters themselves and make trades with friends and co-workers for their children.

“The kids LOVE her, and it’s amazing what she is able to do with states and capitals,” said first grade teacher Kelly Gallagher. “It’s unbelievable to see what the kids know at the end of the year.”

Joyce has been an educator almost all of her life. She graduated from high school at age fifteen and went on to Berry College until she was old enough to attend the newly co-ed Florida State University, where she had dreams of going to med school and filled her schedule with chemistry classes. She ended up back in education and ultimately completed her master’s degree in School Administration.

Joyce’s long history with SJEDS began in the early 1960’s when her military family relocated to Jacksonville. She enrolled her three children at San Jose Episcopal Day School and soon joined the SJEDS faculty as a first grade teacher. Eventually, she served as Head of School before relocating again. She is once more part of the SJEDS family and cherishes the sense of community that the school still offers, all these years later.

A two-time retiree, Joyce is constantly drawn back to working with children. She especially loves the early years when they are curious and confident, eager and excited to learn and not afraid to jump into something new. She always has a moment to stop and share in your day, and it’s not uncommon for a simple conversation to quietly uncover a little piece of her infinite wisdom such as, “If you’re brave enough to walk through the door, opportunity awaits.”

A lifelong learner, Mrs. Deaux likes to read history in her spare time and enjoys going to art museums. But most of all, she enjoys watching football with her family and cheering on her beloved Seminoles.