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West Orange Times & Observer Monday, Mar. 21, 2022 4 months ago

Influencer of the Week: Amy Diederich, Windermere Elementary School

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Amy Diederich is an administrative dean at Windermere Elementary School.
by: Annabelle Sikes Staff Writer

Amy Diederich is an administrative dean at Windermere Elementary School. Her duties and responsibilities include handling discipline, facilities, maintenance, school safety, positive behavior reinforcement and all other duties as assigned by her principal. She served as a fifth-grade teacher and media specialist before her time as a dean. She was Teacher of the Year in 2008 at Mill Creek Elementary, Teacher of the Year in 2012 at Windermere Elementary and named Top 5 Teacher in 2012 for Orange County Public Schools. 

What brought you to your school?

I live in the town of Windermere, so I was really excited at the opportunity to work at my neighborhood school. It has been such a blessing working so closely with the students and families of Windermere.

What do you love most about your school?

WES is the best! The students, parents, staff and entire Windermere community truly work together. Our teachers and staff are passionate educators who truly love children. As a school community, we are very fortunate to work so closely with the town of Windermere and the Windermere Police Department. The mayor even attends our SAC meetings! It is a true community feel!

What is your motivation?

I am always motivated by my two boys, Kai and Finn, and my husband, Brian. In addition to my family, I am always striving to be the best version of myself. In both my personal and professional life I work to continually set goals for myself. 

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I truly love building relationships with children and families. I strive to be that smile that brightens a nervous child’s day or that person a student can turn to in a time of need. When parents share stories of how I made their child feel, that is when I know I am making an impact.  Another favorite is when our seniors come back to celebrate graduation with us. I love to hear them reflect on their fond memories of their time as a Mustang.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I enjoy exercise, adventures with my boys and boating. We love being outside and experiencing all of the beauty of Florida’s beaches and lakes together.   

Who was your favorite teacher when you were in school? Why?

It is hard to choose just one. I had so many amazing teachers and coaches who helped to shape me into the person I am today. I specifically remember my middle school choir director, Ms. Butler, and my high school literature teacher, Mrs. Saft. Both ignited a love of learning and confidence in me.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Why?

I have always wanted to be a teacher. From the moment I can remember, I wanted to make a difference in the lives of children. From a young age, I volunteered with children in my church and at our local schools. 

What is your favorite children’s book and why?

One of my all-time favorite books is “The Giving Tree,” by Shel Silverstein. I love the lesson about what it means to truly give. I also love adventure stories like “The Hatchet” and “Island of the Blue Dolphins” and all books by Roald Dahl.  

What are your hobbies?

I love being outdoors and doing something active with my family. Running, biking and wakeboarding are a few ways I like to enjoy my time outside.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

Definitely time travel! I would do anything to travel back in time to experience more about our world history. To be able to truly experience history would certainly change the way we live in the present. This would also enable me to meet ancestors from centuries ago and spend more time with loved ones who are no longer here. 

If you could only listen to three bands or artists for the rest of your life, what would they be and why?

This was a tough one. I love music and am always listening to new songs and bands. I love The Avett Brothers, Jack Johnson and the Beatles. As a family, we love to listen to classic rock.

What was your go-to lunch as an elementary student? Any favorite snacks or special treats you remember?

In middle school, I remember eating fries and cinnamon rolls from the school cafeteria for lunch, a fully nutritious meal! In elementary school, I remember always wishing that my parents would buy me Dunkaroos and Fruit by the Foot for a snack — but they stuck to healthier choices. Besides middle school, I have always eaten pretty healthy because I was an athlete. It’s pretty hard to run on the soccer field for hours without a nutritious meal.

What is your favorite holiday and why?

Christmas, hands down! Nothing compares to your home lit up with twinkling lights and the joy the holiday season brings to the people I love.

Who was your best friend when you were in school and why? Are you still in touch?

I had a group of best friends, Darcy, Holly, Natalie, Laura, Terri and Juliet. We were inseparable from the time we met at Indian Princesses in kindergarten. We remained best friends all the way through high school. I moved out of state, so it has been difficult keeping in touch, but, thankfully, social media makes it easier. 

What were your extracurricular activities as a student? Did you win any accolades or honors?

I played soccer competitively throughout my childhood and into high school. I also was in the school choir, student council, the key club and was named Homecoming queen my senior year.

REPORT CARD

School: Windermere Elementary School

Position: Administrative Dean

Time at school: 11 years 

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Annabelle Sikes is a staff writer at the West Orange Times & Observer, Southwest Orange Observer and OrangeObserver.com. She graduated in May 2021 from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a minor in sociology.  Her past...

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