Elizabeth Bailey is a third-grade teacher at Sand Lake Elementary. She teaches them all subjects including social emotional support. In the 2020-21 school year, she was awarded Teacher of the Year at her school at the time, West Creek Elementary. Katie Phillips, principal at the school, said Bailey builds a classroom of compassion and conscientious learning. “Students care for each other and work to find their own solutions,” Phillips said. “She makes learning fun and meaningful. Her students are celebrated for being themselves and definitely leave her room more equipped for the world than when they entered.”
What brought you to your school?
I was drawn to Sand Lake because of its stellar reputation and the quality of its staff. Along with the amazing principal, Katie Phillips, I had previously worked with several of the teachers that made their way there.
What do you love most about your school?
We really are one big family. Everyone helps each other out, no matter what the situation. Our principal has helped to create a supportive and positive environment.
What is your motivation?
Hands-down, it has to be my students. I strive to create a classroom environment that fosters their education along with their social and emotional growth. I am excited to go to work and see my kids each day.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I really enjoy seeing the progress my students make both academically and socially. I love checking in with former students (who) have moved to the next grade levels. Whether I see them in the halls or they stop by my classroom, it’s always nice to see them.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love cruises. I also enjoy spending time with family and my dog, Brooklyn.
Who was your favorite teacher when you were in school?
Her name is Mrs. Chaviano, and she was amazing. She took the time to figure out what worked best for my unique learning style. She found a way to connect with me and made me care about education in a way I had never experienced.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I was always torn between being a teacher, a marine biologist or an astronaut. Clearly, the teacher in me won. I have always been fascinated by space and travel. My favorite place in the world is the beach.
What is your favorite children’s book and why?
My favorite children’s book is “Where the Wild Things Are.” The book is full of imagination and adventure. I really appreciated the cliff-hanger ending, where the reader wasn’t quite sure if the character had dreamt all of his adventures or he really did go to the land where the wild things are.
What are your hobbies?
I love crafting, beaching, traveling and exploring.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
It would definitely be the ability to fly. There is something so amazing and freeing about being able to fly to anywhere you choose.
What was your go-to lunch as an elementary student? Any favorite snacks or special treats you remember?
I didn’t have a “go-to” lunch, because I typically just ate school lunch. My after school go-to snacks were Chef Boyardee raviolis and Gushers fruit snacks.
What is your favorite holiday and why?
Halloween! The weather here in Florida is gorgeous during that time. I love that we have one day a year where we get to dress up and be silly at the same time. All the candy just makes it a bonus.
Who was your best friend when you were in school and why? Are you still in touch?
My best friend was Ericka, and I really cherish the memories we made together. We had similar interests and we always got along. We enjoyed going on adventures together. We lost touch when I moved out of my hometown after high school.
What were your extracurricular activities as a student? Did you win any accolades or honors?
In middle school, I was on the cross country team and the soccer team. In high school, I played soccer and joined a social club.