Long Cane Middle School’s Teacher of the Year works to give back to community she grew up in

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, December 7, 2022

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For some educators, it’s in their blood to be a teacher. Long Cane Middle School’s Teacher of the Year Kelly DeMarino has teaching in her DNA beginning with her mother, who taught at Long Cane Elementary when she attended.

LCMS has co-teachers of the year, as DeMarino shares the title with Coach Shabre Lovelace.

“I think I always knew I wanted to be a teacher,” DeMarino said. “My mom worked at the elementary school so after class was over, I would go to the teachers’ classrooms and write on the board and play school and read books.”

DeMarino said she decided to become a teacher for the opportunity to make an impact and give back to the community she grew up in.

“I love working with children,” DeMarino said. “I always felt like it would be great to make an impact on the world or help somebody who just needed an extra helping hand or an extra hug throughout the day.”

As a special education teacher, DeMarino said she loves being able to help kids and give them the attention they need.

“I was a general education teacher for 15 years,” DeMarino said. “After 15 years, I woke up one day and realized my career was halfway over. I wanted to try something new, and I just thought this would be a great way for me to help children in a smaller group setting and give them a little bit more attention that they need to be successful.”

DeMarino said the most fulling part of her job has been building relationships with her students and seeing them grow up.

“I had a former student message me on Facebook last week and told me I inspired her to teach,” DeMarino said. “That really stuck with me. Some days, you might not feel like you’re making a difference. To hear that you actually impacted somebody’s life was very special and rewarding.”

DeMarino said being able to work with the teachers that taught her and being able to learn from them has impacted her most as an educator.

“In my position, I get to go into a lot of other classrooms, instead of students coming to me, I get to go to them,” DeMarino said. “Getting to see the strength of different teachers throughout the building and what everybody brings to the table has helped make me a better teacher.”

DeMarino also said being able to teach at the same school as her child has been extra special.

“It was always a dream of mine to teach at the same school that my kids went to,” DeMarino said. “Until this year, I’d never had the opportunity. Having my daughter here with me in sixth grade is something I’ll never forget.”

When DeMarino isn’t in the classroom, she enjoys exercising, reading, and traveling with her husband, Mario DeMarino, and their kids, Liliana and Gavin play

If she wasn’t teaching, DeMarino said she would be a nurse.

“It interests me how the body works,” DeMarino said. “If I wasn’t a teacher, I would be a nurse because that would be another way to serve the community that I grew up in.”