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Southwest Orange Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019 1 month ago

Influencer of the Week: Michael Crocetti, Windermere Prep

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Crocetti uses the Windermere Prep campus and his prior experience as an animal keeper to teach his students.
by: Tim Freed Managing Editor

Michael Crocetti started off at Windermere Prep as a fifth-grade science teacher for six years and then moved to IB biology, honors anatomy and honors physiology in the high school. But his love for science didn’t start there. Prior to working as a teacher, Crocetti was an animal keeper at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Gatorland. He’s worked with dozens of different animal species ranging from poison dart frogs to giraffes. 

What do you love most about your school?
There are multiple things I really love about Windermere Preparatory School. I think the diversity of ethnicity and religion is top on my list. To be able to bring so many ideologies about the world together in one place allows students and teachers to understand and explore what makes us similar and different. This helps to develop a well-rounded and tolerant individual. I also love the beauty of the campus. As a biology teacher, it is great to have the ability of using the campus as a classroom. The diversity of both fauna and flora we have on property gives me an opportunity to teach about the natural world in real life and not from a book or computer screen.

What's your favorite part of your role?
My favorite part of being a teacher are the relationships I can develop with my students. My students will forget 80% of what I teach them, but they will never forget how I made them feel.

What motivates you and pushes you to do your best?
The fear of not living up to the expectations of my students and peers keeps me at the top of my game. I could clearly tell the teachers I had in my life that were not prepared and did not put the necessary time into their job. Their lack of preparation bothered me and I don’t want my students feeling that way

What's the nicest thing a student, parent or faculty member has done for you?
There is not one single moment that jumps out at me more than another. I have been here for so long that it is an extended family for me now. My wife also teaches at Windermere Preparatory School and my three sons are students here so we are all part of the Laker family. Through both good and bad times, I have always been well supported.

If you could take a vacation anywhere, where would you go?
Fourteen years ago, I was lucky enough to go to Maui. The natural beauty of the land and the genuine hospitality of the people were something I will never forget. I would love to return to the “magic” of the Hawaiian Islands.

What do you like to do in your free time?
Currently, my free time is dominated by what my three sons are doing. I am driving to a soccer game or making homecoming costumes out of cardboard. I am enjoying this time as much as possible as I know someday soon this will come to an end. When that day comes I know you will be able to find me at a movie with my wife or on a golf course with my friends.

If you could meet anyone, from present day or throughout history, who would it be?
I have an enormous interest in preserving our natural environment and have become extremely discouraged as of late. I would like to meet our newest environmental phenom, Greta Thunberg. Her passion and ability to educate and reignite what many people have lost is an inspiration to me.

Cats or dogs?
Both! Cats are amazing in their ability of not caring and dogs are amazing in that they care too much!

What's your favorite place to eat?
Any place with variety! My family has a hard time agreeing on any one cuisine. 

Tim Freed is the Managing Editor for the West Orange Times & Observer and the Windermere Observer. He previously spent six years covering the Winter Park/Maitland area and is a graduate of the University of Central Florida....

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