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Southwest Orange Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019 2 years ago

Influencer of the Week: Kelley Bell, Horizon West Middle School

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Kelley Bell enjoys being the go-to individual when students at HWMS need someone to talk to.
by: Eric Gutierrez Former Staff Writer

Kelley Bell is the coordinator of both the Student Assistance and Family Empowerment Program and the Partners in Education Program. Through those roles, she’ a go-to person at Horizon West Middle School when students need someone to talk to, and she works with businesses within the community to provide additional resources for the school. 

What do you love most about your school?

I love the fact that we are a brand new school. Being at a brand new school can bring some challenges, but it gives us a fresh start to be able to create a legacy.

What's your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part about my job is being able to simply talk to students about the concerns and issues they have. Sometimes it may be about academics but majority of the time it’s about other things. We talk about the things that are bothering them, we come up with strategies on how to address those concerns. OCPS has a great support system in place in regards to providing mental health support for our students. It’s amazing to be able to reach out to so many others for additional support and resources for our students. So far at Horizon West, I have been able to speak to some amazing parents that simply are willing to do whatever it takes to support their students. This has been a rewarding experience as well!  As the PIE Coordinator, I enjoy being able to work with local businesses and providing resources to our faculty and students!

What made you want to take on this job?

I really enjoy helping students as well as parents. In this position, as SAFE Coordinator, it gives me the opportunity to create a safe place within my office, where students have somewhere to go if they need to vent or just need some time to gather their thoughts. I enjoy being a person that students can lean on when they feel like their voice isn’t being heard.

What motivates you and pushes you to do your best?

Knowing that I have the ability to positively change a students’ life truly motivates me.  I believe everyone has that one teacher they can think of that made a positive impact in their life and they will forever remember that teachers’ name. As an educator, I have the ability to pour my love, compassion, patience and positive outlook on a child. Sometimes it only takes that “one person” to believe in a student and it gives that student the motivation, the drive and determination they need to reach their goals. To know that I could be that “one person” for a student, to motivate them to accomplish their goals, is impactful to me.

What's the nicest thing a student or faculty member has done with you?

At my last school, one of my co-workers, at that time, bought me an “Amazing Grace” picture for my birthday.  It looks like a snap shot of the hymn right from a hymnal. My background is Music Education and I started piano lessons at a young age. I enjoy playing the piano and hymns are one of my favorite “styles” of music. It was very thoughtful of her and it really means a lot to me. I keep it in my office!

What’s your favorite place to eat?

My favorite restaurant is Eddie V’s!

If you could take a vacation to anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why?

Egypt, I would love to have the opportunity to visit ancient monuments and walk the ground where some biblical stories took place.

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

If I could have any superpower it would be to teleport. I am the mother of 4 children who are involved in activities, as well as myself after work, so I spend a lot of time driving. If I could teleport it would help out a lot!

Cats, dogs or some other pet? 

We have one turtle at home. My 7 year old wanted it for Christmas so we got it for him.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I enjoy traveling, listening to music, spending time with family and friends and helping others.

If you were trapped on a deserted island and can only take three items with you, what would you bring and why?

The Bible –  Considering that I am on a deserted island, I could imagine the level of desperation and despair I would be in. Having the Bible will allow me to read some great stories that exemplify finding hope in times of trouble. It would help me stay positive.

Picture of loved ones. – This may be a stretch, but I would want one picture that has a combination of all of the important people in my life on it. I have some pretty amazing people in my life and seeing their faces would inspire me.

Machete – Some type of knife that I could use while on the island to build things or just to survive if there is wild life on the island.

 What was your favorite book growing up? 

The Watsons go to Birmingham

What is your favorite sports team to cheer for?

Cleveland, Browns             

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Eric Gutierrez was a staff writer with the West Orange Times & Observer and Southwest Orange Observer....

See All Articles by Eric

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