Influencer of the Week: Darlene Rando, Palm Lake Elementary

Darlene Rando is a kindergarten teacher for students with ASD at Palm Lake Elementary.

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  • | 11:30 a.m. September 26, 2019
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Courtesy photo
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Teachers are among those people who are in a prime position to make a difference in a child’s life, especially when it comes to teaching and guiding students with special needs. Darlene Rando is a kindergarten teacher for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder at Palm Lake Elementary in Dr. Phillips, and she takes her role in her kindergartners’ lives seriously. In August, she was named Palm Lake’s Teacher of the Year. Rando’s goal is to teach and lead her students with ASD to success, and she said that seeing students progress into general-education classes is one of the most rewarding aspects of her job. 


What do you love most about your school? 

I just love the Palm Lake family, which always puts the students’ best interests above all else.

What is your favorite part of your job? 

My favorite part of my job is getting to see my amazing students every day, as well as the privilege of collaborating with my kindergarten and ASD teams while striving to be the best version of myself.

What made you want to take on this job? 

As soon as I got to know the students with autism, I realized I was truly called to help them begin their elementary school journey.

What motivates you and pushes you to do your best?

The progress of my students motivates me to bring my best every day. There are many success stories with my present and past students moving from a self-contained unit to a general education classroom. It requires you to always see the best and brightest potential in each student.

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

My Palm Lake family voted me Teacher of the Year! This is an incredible honor, and I am truly humbled to receive this award.

What is the coolest place you have visited and why? 

The coolest place I have visited is Hawaii — it is the most beautiful place on Earth.

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

I would have to choose telepathy. Every day I wish that I could read my students’ minds, especially my non-verbal students, so I could better help them be successful in their academic journey.

Do you have any pets? What kind, and what are their names? 

Yes, I have a dog named Lucy and a bird named Pepper.

If you could see any musician, band or artist live, who would it be and why? 

I would want to see The Beatles, because they’re The Beatles, hello?! Haha.


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