Amber Shaw is the administrative dean at Ocoee Middle School. She started at the school as an eighth-grade language arts teacher. After she obtained her master’s degree in educational leadership from Stetson University, she transitioned to her current role. “While those roles are very different, I have enjoyed the move into leadership and the relationships I’ve built with my grade level,” Shaw said. “I move up with them each year, so I have years to mentor and build relationships.”
What brought you to your school?
I had recently graduated from Oswego State University in Northern New York and was looking for a warmer climate. Ocoee was the first school that I had a really good feeling about. The interview was focused on engagement and relationships, and I felt that is where I would excel most.
What do you love most about your school?
I love the culture and family atmosphere of OMS. The educators here genuinely care about our students — and it shows. OMS is a safe space for a lot of our students, and they know that they are loved here.
What is your motivation?
I was a military brat and moved around a lot when I was younger. I always wanted a school I could call home and felt like I didn’t get that. I want to provide that to my students.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Getting invited to high school graduations. Middle school is such an important time for our students, and the staff here pours into our students. It’s the best reward to know that those students have made it to graduation.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy fishing and spending quiet time at home. Sometimes, I get the travel bug, but I really prefer the peace and quiet of my home.
Who was your favorite teacher when you were in school? Why?
I would say my high school English teacher, Mrs. Edgar, made the most impact on me. She was the reason I pursued education. She was always fun and showed a genuine interest in her students.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Why?
Since I can remember, I’ve wanted to take care of and nurture others. So, I wanted to be either a nurse or teacher. I pursued both and decided on a teacher, because I found it to be more fulfilling.
What is your favorite children’s book and why?
I enjoyed reading Disney fairy tales when I was younger. I had a collection of short stories and liked to read different stories.
What are your hobbies?
I enjoy fishing and boating. I enjoy reading and spending quiet time at home.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
I’d like to be able to teleport or fly. I’d love to be able to get to travel destinations quickly without the long travel hours and airports.
If you could only listen to three bands or artists for the rest of your life, what would they be and why?
I enjoy listening to R&B and rap for the most part. I would say if I were limited it would be Lil Wayne, Charlie Wilson and Beyonce. Those three artists would give me a well-rounded musical experience.
What is your favorite holiday and why?
Christmas is, of course, my favorite. Being around family and friends and enjoying one another’s company. I enjoy the fact that time slows down during Christmas and you really get to feel joy and connection with loved ones.
Who was your best friend when you were in school and why? Are you still in touch?
Being that I moved around so often, I didn’t get to establish roots when I was in elementary and middle school. I really started to develop long-lasting friends in high school and college. I still keep in touch with a few but have found my lifelong friends while working here at OMS.
What were your extracurricular activities as a student? Did you win any accolades or honors?
I was involved in soccer and lacrosse as a student. I was in the honor society for both high school and my technical nursing program in high school.