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Our Global Gateway Team - 2nd grade teachers

Picture 1- Jamie Dunleavy, Mandy Zarger Sam Harlow, Joseph Pascarella, Beth McNeill and Mary Fincher. Picture 2- Paula Broms (TA) , Beth McNeill, Sam Harlow, Shelley Lukjancuk,Jamie Dunleavy and Mary Fincher. Joseph Pascarella 2nd row.

 We have an awesome group of second grade teachers at Rocky River. We would like to introduce them to you. As you can see they have various levels of experience and with different grade levels. They enjoy many things and have many interests. Shelley Lukjanczuk is currently at home with her new baby girl. Her mother in law (Mrs. Lukjanczuk) is taking her place until she returns. One of the second grade teachers Mrs. Harlow joined the second grade team last year coming all the way from England to share her culture with staff and students. The second grade team is part of the Global Gateway team because of our partnership with the Visiting International Faculty program in Chapel Hill. This program provides activities that integrate curriculum standards with global content. Teaching is in their blood.

Mary Fincher
I am from Union County and attended Union County Public schools as a child. She attended University of North Carolina at Charlotte where she received her Elementary Education degree. Mrs. Fincher has been teaching for four years and has experience teaching fourth and second grade. She began her teaching at Waxhaw Elementary and recently transferred to Rocky River where she is so excited to be. Mrs. Fincher enjoys working with children on a daily basis and making a positive difference in their lives. She enjoys watching each child grow as a learner and a leader. Mrs. Fincher was recently married and enjoys spending time with her husband Matt and beagle Peanut. When not working on school work she enjoys weekends away in the mountains or at the beach.

Sam Harlow
I was born and raised in England. I grew up in a small town called Loughborough. It is famous for providing the first package tour, organised by Thomas Cook. It also has the largest bell foundry in the world - Taylor’s - which made the bells for many cathedrals in the country. I studied for my Bachelors of Education in England, too – at The University of Derby. This is now my seventh year of teaching and I love it! I have to say that second grade is definitely my favourite year group to teach. In England I usually taught the higher year groups so this has been a great experience for me. I really enjoy exploring new places and traveling the world. This summer, I visited England and France. My husband and I hope to explore lots more of North Carolina this year, too. I cannot wait to share some stories about our explorations.

Shelley Lukjanczuk
I am from Eden, North Carolina which is by the border of Virginia in Rockingham County. I went to college at Appalachian State University for my under graduate, and I received my graduate degree from Gardner-Webb University. This is my tenth year teaching. My husband’s name is AJ, and we have a beautiful baby girl, Katherine. We also have two dogs, Trixie and Tia. I love to go to the UNC Charlotte 49ers sporting events, especially the football games! Go Niners!


Jamie Dunleavy

I just finished my tenth year of teaching—all with Union County Public Schools. I’ve taught at Wingate Elementary, Porter Ridge Elementary, and have been at Rocky River for the past five years. I am grateful to have taught 3rd grade for 7 years before teaching 2ndgrade because I am aware of what is expected and will spend this year preparing my students to transition to a testing grade. I am a mother of a sweet boy who is entering the 4thgrade at Rocky River. He and I spend lots of time together playing Legos or Minecraft and watching superhero movies. When I’m not pretending to be a 9-year old boy and actually have adult time, I love being outdoors. I enjoy riding my bike or walking in my neighborhood. I’m also learning to garden and cook. I’ve always been passionate about indoor plants, but this year I grew my first vegetable garden and my outdoor plants have finally begun to flourish! It’s very exciting to watch the seeds you’ve sown grow into something beautiful—especially something you can eat and/or share with others! My goal is to ultimately add edible plants in all of the landscaping throughout my yard. I consider myself a lifelong learner and as such, I am continually learning and growing—in all aspects of my life—and am always involved in various classes and learning experiences. I received my Bachelor’s degree from UNC-Charlotte and my Master’s degree at Wingate University. I am looking to pursue my National Board Certification as well.

Joe Pascarella
My name is Mr. Joe Pascarella and I’m a Second grade teacher! I was born in New York. This is my seventh year teaching here at Rocky River Elementary and I have taught both 2nd and 3rd grades. I live in Fort Mill, SC and I’ve been married for eight years to my wife Rachel. I have a dog named Roscoe and two cats named Pumpkin and Patience. In my free time, I enjoy movies, music and food! I have a Bachelor’s degree in both Elementary Education and Social Work from Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, NY. I also have my Masters of Education degree from Wingate University.

Mandy Zarger
I have taught Elementary age children for 10 years as well as tutored many students. I am from NY where I received my teaching degree. I have taught in 3 different states-New York, Virginia, and North Carolina. I have also taught 3 different grades- Kindergarten, first, and second grades. I received my Master’s degree with a focus on Reading. I am married to my husband Chris and am a proud mother to 2 children, Lia and Logan. In my spare time I like to travel to see family, go for walks, and read with my children.

Beth McNeill
I was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I have lived all over this state. I lived and worked in Mississippi for eight years after I got married. My husband and I have lived in Union County for the last sixteen years. I truly love teaching school. For as long as I can remember, teaching is what I have wanted to do. I am entering my 24th year of teaching. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education from The University of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. I have taught preschool, transitional kindergarten, second grade and fourth grade. My husband and I have two children: Megan is a freshman at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. My son, Lee, is a junior at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He is one of the quarterbacks on their very first football team! Needless to say this is an exciting time for our family.

Written by: Brenda Todd and Second Grade Teachers
Posted: Oct 03, 2014 by Brenda Todd

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