- November 6, 2019
Each day, Joseph “Dan” Rebuck heads to his job at Castleview Elementary with one goal in mind — to have a positive impact on his students.
He excels at that goal, too. Rebuck, a physical-education paraprofessional at the school, recently was named a top-five finalist for Orange County Public Schools’ Support Person of the Year award.
Rebuck and his family moved to Horizon West from Pennsylvania two years ago, after his son was admitted to the University of Florida. He always had worked with children, from daycare and teaching elementary school to being a sports counselor. He also owned a computer/web design business that he sold before moving to Florida.
Upon moving to the area, he got the job at Castleview Elementary, a new school at the time.
“It’s perfect, and I really love going and enjoy being there,” he said. “My whole entire adult life, I’ve worked with children. I coached Little League for 14 years. I enjoy being around children and teaching them, whether it be academics, P.E., sports — whatever it is.”
Two weeks into the 2020-21 school year, staff members cast their nominations for the school’s Teacher of the Year and Support Person of the Year. A few weeks later, he learned he had been named Castleview’s Support Person of the Year.
“Because I won for the school, I had to do several essays and send in a picture,” he said. “Probably a month after that, (Superintendent) Dr. (Barbara) Jenkins actually called me at work. The secretary said, ‘Coach Rebuck, I have an important call for you.’ So I went into the P.E. office, and (Jenkins) had told me that I’m one of five (finalists) out of — I think — 244 schools. It was an honor to be recognized out of all those schools to be one of five.”
Although Rebuck doesn’t work for acknowledgement, he said it was nice to be honored. For him, though, the real honor is getting to help students learn the lifelong benefits of physical, mental and emotional fitness.
“They want to come to P.E. and participate, and that’s what we strive for. That’s the most important thing to me, is that the kids give effort and respect everybody.” — Joseph “Dan” Rebuck
His day begins at the bus loop, where he welcomes children when they get off the bus. He loves chatting with them and getting to know them. He also participates with them in other events such as Lunch Bunch, Field Day, Fun Runs and Ride Your Bike to School Day.
Rebuck enjoys assisting students in building their self-esteem and self-worth through cooperative games and activities.
“I get to come every day and run around with the kids,” he said. “I like to get out there and participate with them in whatever activity we’re doing. I like to get in there and play the games they’re playing. … It’s really a great community, really nice people, really nice parents. It’s just fun to come to work every day, interact with the kids and actually play games with them at P.E. … I love being outside and playing with the students. It’s a lot of fun.”
Rebuck said he also feels fortunate to be part of the Castleview family, adding the school’s principal and assistant principal are among the best people for whom he has ever worked. His colleagues held a small celebration in the media center to honor him and Castleview’s Teacher of the Year, Heather Woodcock.
“The staff is wonderful — the teachers, the custodians, the secretary — and everybody is very friendly and willing to talk to you, willing to help you, and they go out of their way to really make you feel welcome,” he said. “I’m just honored and happy that I was a part of the opening of the school.”
Although being a top-five finalist for a district award is nice, Rebuck’s reward lies in making a difference in his students’ lives and building relationships with them.
“It’s about building those relationships with them every day, and they learn to trust you and talk to you,” he said. “They want to come to P.E. and participate, and that’s what we strive for. That’s the most important thing to me, is that the kids give effort and respect everybody. It’s the positive impact that I can make on the students that is really important to me.”