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Southwest Orange Wednesday, May 12, 2021 8 months ago

Influencer of the Week: Leslie Olson Bounds, Keene's Crossing Elementary

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Olson Bounds is an intervention specialist at KCES.
by: Danielle Hendrix Former Associate Editor

Leslie Olson Bounds joined the team at Keene’s Crossing Elementary in 2012 as a kindergarten teacher. She finds joy in watching her former students continue to learn and grow on their journeys in education — some even up through their high school graduation and beyond. Olson Bounds has been serving as an intervention specialist this year and will retire at the end of May. 

 

What brought you to your school?

I started teaching with Orange County Public Schools in 1985, working primarily in the Pine Hills area. My husband and I moved to Summerport in 2006, and when I saw they were building a school literally three minutes from my house, I just had to apply.

What do you love most about your school?

Having it located in my neighborhood has shown me firsthand the importance of a community-based school and its impact on the students in their sense of ownership and pride. It’s not just a school; it’s their school.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

It’s always amazing to me to see this group of 5-year-olds at the beginning of the school year — timid but eager to learn — and after 180 days of schooling, seeing these confident students walk out my classroom full of ambition and new skills, prepared to go forward in their educational career. You can imagine my happiness when I get college graduation announcements from students from long ago.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Usually, my husband and I love to travel, but this past year has curtailed that … for now! I am retiring May 28, and as the world starts getting more normalcy restored, we will once again resume our travels.

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

Mrs. Bowman, at Robinswood Middle School. She worked hard to make sure her students had just as much passion for learning as she did for teaching. She was a delight, and hopefully some of her skills rubbed off on me.

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

Because I wore braces, I initially wanted to be an orthodontist. I realized they literally change lives by changing smiles.

What is your favorite children’s book and why?

“The Boxcar Children” by Gertrude Chandler Warner. It’s a great series about orphan children and their adventures. It provides great examples of children facing challenges and then using their ingenuity to solve those challenges.

Who would you say is your biggest inspiration and why?

I was fortunate to have a family of strong women set the example for me. My grandmother was a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse, and my mother was a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army. They both instilled a strong work ethic and positive values in me from the beginning.

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

Teleportation. I grew up as a “Star Trek” fan, and the transporter always fascinated me. The ability to “beam” anywhere in the world in the blink of an eye would save me a lot of TSA time at the Orlando International Airport.

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

While I pride myself on keeping up with current music trends and artists, I am a product of the 1980s, so I can listen to George Michael, Elton John or Queen all day long with no problem.

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Danielle Hendrix was an associate editor for the West Orange Times & Observer, Southwest Orange Observer and OrangeObserver.com.

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