Influencer of the Week: Lisa Brzakala, Ocoee Elementary School

Ocoee Elementary's guidance counselor was selected as this week's Influencer of the Week.

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Lisa Brzakala is a guidance counselor at Ocoee Elementary School and currently is juggling her work schedule with chemotherapy treatments. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in August and will go through five months of treatments and then a few surgeries.

"I am a super positive person though, so it will all be OK in the end," she said.


What do you love most about your school?

One of my favorite things about Ocoee Elementary is the family environment. Our students are loved here.


What's your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of my job is getting to work with students daily and creating relationships with them and their families. I know I have connected when they feel comfortable asking to come to my room to talk.


Why does this job appeal to you?

I love to help others and make a difference in their lives.


What motivates you and pushes you to do your best?

I am always so motivated by the resiliency of our students. I am also motivated when I see the students using their social and emotional learning in real world situations. 


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

It is always so touching when I get notes from the students.


What’s your favorite restaurant and favorite meal? 

I could eat sushi every day, LOL. 


Do you have any pets? What kind? What are their names? 

I have the most loveable border collie/Bernese mountain dog mix named Pepper at home. I also have two small guinea pigs in my classroom named Chloe and Oreo. They help some of the students when they need some time to calm down.


What’s your favorite movie and why? 

"A Christmas Story," because it is a lighthearted fun family movie that you can watch over and over.


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

I think the power of speed. I would love to be able to get to things faster at home and school. And the power to heal.


What’s your favorite vacation spot and why?  

I love the beach. I especially love the beaches on the West Coast of Florida. It is just so relaxing.


What do you like to do in your free time? 

In my free time, I love to be with my family. With everyone going in different directions all of the time, I cherish whatever we get to do together. One of the places we love to go to is Disney.


What’s your favorite book and why? 

I just love books. I love to be able to teach from children’s literature. You can always find a message in a book. 


What are some of your can’t-miss TV shows? 

I have watched "Grey’s Anatomy" since the beginning. My girls and I love to watch "Expedition Unknown" together.


If you could put any four musicians on an alternate Mount Rushmore, who would it be? 

Jimmy Buffet, Michael Jackson, Freddie Mercury, Phil Collins


Do you have any "fun" talents or hobbies?

I am definitely not coordinated. I did skydive once. 


Tell us about your family: 

I have an amazing, supportive, loving family. I have been married to my husband, Tom, for almost 19 years. There is not anything he would not do for us. I have two girls. Emelia is 15 and a student at West Orange High School. She loves to perform on stage. Gabriella is 10. She attends Ocoee Elementary School with me. She loves to dance. Both girls have beautiful hearts and spirits.



Amy Quesinberry

Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.

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