In the ruckus of lunchtime chatter, Paula Faustini can command order with the raise of two fingers. Her calm and gentle nature has earned the genuine respect of both students and faculty. Since joining us last year as a teaching assistant, she has become the powerhouse that keeps second and third grade classes running smoothly. Known among students as “caring and sweet,” Paula facilitates small reading groups, aids teachers in differentiated instruction and helps keep everyone on schedule between resources. “Ms. Faustini tells good jokes and explains things really well,” gushed student Evelyn Connell, adding, “and she has a BIG heart!”
Ms. Faustini took a back door approach to teaching, first earning her nursing degree from the University of Florida. Eventually she realized that, although she loved working with people, nursing did not suit her. She went back to college and earned her master’s degree in library science. During her 30-year tenure with Duval County Public Schools, she transitioned out of the library and into the classroom to teach health education, math, reading and ESOL.
Eventually, Paula retired from the public school system to help care for her elderly father. After a few years, she realized that she really missed being with children and joined the SJEDS family. “No matter what’s on your mind, getting a hug from a child makes you feel wonderful,” she explained. “It is such a blessing to be here in a community of such love and joy!”
Paula loves to travel and “likes a good adventure.” After graduate school, she went on a five-week bicycle tour of France, Germany, England and Scotland. She also spent three months backpacking across Europe. These days, she and her long-time fiancée (as she jokes of their 20-year relationship) spend a lot of time hiking the Appalachian Trail and enjoying North Carolina.
When she’s not caring for her father and spending time with her family, Paula enjoys reading, yard work and playing with her two rescue dogs, Foxy and Benny.