INFLUENCER OF THE WEEK: Adrien Hadley, Sand Lake Elementary School

Adrien Hadley is a fourth-grade teachers at Sand Lake Elementary School.

Adrien Hadley has been with Sand Lake Elementary School for two years.
Adrien Hadley has been with Sand Lake Elementary School for two years.
Courtesy photo
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Adrien Hadley is a fourth-grade teachers at Sand Lake Elementary School. In addition to her role as a teacher, she has started two running clubs at the school. She is the coach for the nationwide Girls on the Run program in the fall, and she recently started Boys on Track in the spring. In addition, she is the school’s employee wellness representative, which is the liaison between Orange County Public Schools and the Sand Lake staff regarding healthy habits and lifestyles. Finally, Hadley is the co-leader for the school’s fifth-grade safety patrols. 

“She is a shining star,” SLE Principal Kathleen Phillips said. “Not only does she have amazing relationships with her students, her positivity and work ethic shine through and through.”

What brought you to your school?

A few years ago, when I was a substitute teacher for Kelly Subs, I knew a few friends who worked at Sand Lake Elementary who highly recommended the school. I thoroughly enjoyed my time working there and continued subbing until my full-time employment. 

What do you love most about your school?

I love the feeling of inclusivity for everyone, and the relationships among the staff and students are very prevalent at SLE. The school is very diverse while still offering a sense of belonging and a sense of purpose.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Hands-down, the students! When they have achieved an accomplishment and you see their enthusiasm and pride shine through, you know your hard work in helping the students is all worth it. Additionally, when a parent reaches out with compliments and praise in noticing a difference in their child this year because of you. It makes you want to go above and beyond for the students.

What would you be if you weren’t in this profession?  

I actually graduated from UCF with a (bachelor’s degree) in hospitality management and was an event planner for quite a few years. So, I wasn’t always a teacher! I loved planning corporate events for destination management companies. However, when I had two kids of my own and I was always volunteering at their school, I decided to change careers and haven’t looked back since.

Who influences you?  

My parents have always had a positive influence in my life. We are really close — we live less than 10 minutes away from each other — and I wouldn’t be where I am today without their continuous love and support! 

Who was your favorite teacher when you were in school? Why?

I still remember my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Jominy, in Coral Springs, because of all the fun and creative ways we learned. We did so many hands-on activities that made learning fun. I also have to say my high school history teacher, Mr. Dave Boutin, who was also my cross country coach. He was always so inspirational and looked at life with a positive outlook.

What is your favorite children’s book and why?

I have read the book, “On the Night You Were Born” to my kids every night when they were little. So, that book has a special meaning to me. I am also a huge fan of the Sesame Street and Dr. Seuss books!

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Anyone who knows me knows I am obsessed with running. I have run 5Ks to full marathons and everything inbetween. I also love to read and spend time with my family.

If you could dine with any famous person, past or present, who would it be and why?

Lucille Ball. I grew up watching reruns of her “I Love Lucy” show and re-watched her series many times. The comedy was very simple and clean fun, and I feel like they don’t make these comedies anymore. 

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

I would love to fly, because who wouldn’t like the feeling of flying?!

If you could only listen to three bands or artists, who would they be and why?

I will always be a fan of Linkin Park, and their music has been a huge part of my life since middle school. I also have to add Imagine Dragons and Shinedown. 

What was your go-to lunch and favorite snack as an elementary student?

Chicken tenders and fries, and I still order this meal often! I also love chips as a snack.

What is your favorite holiday and why?

I love Christmas and all of the events and festivals leading up to it. The celebrations and holiday spirit last all month long, and I just love that! 

Who was your best friend when you were in school and why? Are you still in touch?

I grew up with my two neighborhood best friends, Emily and Ashley, and we were inseparable until I moved from Coral Springs to Windermere — I have been in the same town since 1994. We stay in touch periodically through Facebook, and I did see Emily when I was pregnant with my first child about 10 years ago.



Annabelle Sikes

News Editor Annabelle Sikes was born in Boca Raton and moved to Orlando in 2018 to attend the University of Central Florida. She graduated from UCF in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in sociology. Her past journalism experiences include serving as a web producer at the Orlando Sentinel, a reporter at The Community Paper, managing editor for NSM Today, digital manager at Centric Magazine and as an intern for the Orlando Weekly.

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