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Teacher Talk: Mr. Santana

Mr. Santana is a gem!

Dennis Santana is a fourth grade teacher at Rocky River Elementary and has been teaching here since the school opened in 2007. Dennis is loved by his students and respected by his coworkers. Mrs. Holland states "Mr. Santana is a hard-working, dedicated teacher who makes learning fun for his students!" and Mrs. Treharn agrees by stating "Mr. Santana continues to strive for excellence when teaching his students and peers. He works dilligently every day towards reaching success and always remains positive while keeping a smile on all of our faces here in fourth grade." 

Mr. Santana was born and grew up on Long Island, New York.  Mr. Santana first attended Stony Brook University where he was enrolled in their premedical program.  After taking some very overwhelming courses he realized that the medical field may not be the best field for him.After graduating from St. Joseph's College he substitute taught for 5 years and then a friend who lived in Marvin, NC called and told him about a new school opening nearby and advised that he should apply for a teaching position.  Fortunately for Rocky River, Mr. Santana got the job and relocated to North Carolina and has loved being a Roadrunner ever since.

Other than that difficult medical program, what else drove Mr. Santana into teaching?  Well one day Mrs. Santana had the opportunity to substitute teach at Mannetuck Elementary in West Islip, NY and his future became clear.  Mannetuck Elementary had been Mr. Santana's elementary school when he was young and while subsituting he came in contact with his first grade teacher, Mrs. Webber, who remembered him by name!  Mr. Santana found that he loved teaching!  He cracked jokes and the students laughed and he had a great time!  He decided to transfer to a different college and change his major to child study so he could become a teacher!

 When he isn't teaching reading, writing, science, social studies, and math he enjoys drawing, comic books, action figures, and he loves movies and music.  Mrs. Santana is famous for the drawings hung in his classroom as well as the guitar he bring to school to play for the students.  He plays during recess, especially during indoor recess, and he always play Happy Birthday when it is one of his students birthdays.  He is Rocky River's very own rock star!

Drawing is a passion of Mrs. Santana's and for as long as he could remember he has always loved to draw cartoons.  His earliest memory is being 4 years old and being obsessed with Great White Sharks.  He would draw them everywhere!  His uncle David was his biggest inspiration because he was a comic artist and would teach Mr. Santana tricks of the trade every time they visited together.

As for music, Mr. Santana likes a variety of aritsts and genres.  It's hard for him to pick one that he likes best.  Right now he is listening to the blues and Muddy Waters is on his ipod right now.  If he had to pick, his top three favorite genres of music are rock, blues, and rap.

In school his favorite subject was writing.  He loved to write fiction stories and was known in his class to be the student to write the longest stories!  He felt great when he wrote.

A teacher who really made a difference to Mr. Santana was Mrs. Farley, his fourth grade teacher at Mannetuck Elementary School.  He remembers being in third grade and being so scared of the coming school year once he found out Mrs. Farley was going to be his teacher.  The talk on the playground was that Mrs. Farley was mean and she looked mean so Mr. Santana believed them and was nervous all summer long about the coming school year.  Well looks were deceiving and Mrs. Farley turned out to be extremely nice and she always made learning fun and always loved to read his incredibly long stories.  She is what made him want to teach 4th grade when he got a teaching job.

Mr. Santana states, "I love being a Roadrunner because to me it's home.  Rocky River is somewhere that for the rest of my life I will look at as knowing some of the best people (kids included) that I have ever known.  I feel loved here and that makes it a great to wake up and drive to work in the morning.  Thank you for everything Rocky River!"

Written by: Heather Shulman
Posted: Dec 07, 2012 by Heather Shulman

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