Forest North Teacher of the Year: Danielle Skala

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“My goal is to provide students with countless opportunities for success and then reward them with generous praise and encouragement,” Skala said. “Within this safe environment, I can push them outside of their comfort zone, while providing them with the strategies and support in order to overcome these stresses.”

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]FN_TOY_PageThroughout her life, Danielle Skala has always found herself helping people. From her work as a camp counselor to tutoring, she always knew she was drawn to helping people succeed, particularly children.

Skala has been selected as the 2017 Teacher of the Year for Forest North Elementary School. She has been an educator for seven years with four of them being in her current position as special education teacher at Forest North.

Her journey to helping special needs students started very early in her life. She served throughout her middle and high school years as a camp counselor at summer camps for teens and adults with special needs. This journey continued after graduating from college as she accepted a position as a long-term substitute teacher for a classroom for students with Autism. These combined experiences reinforced her passion to help special needs students.

“I saw the remarkable potential in each individual,” Skala said. “By providing them a safe and supportive environment, opportunities for success, and the right strategies, I began to see new skills develop. After this experience, I announced to all my family and friends that I had found my passion and purpose, and I wanted to work with this population for the rest of my life.”

She believes that the teaching process begins with establishing relationships with both students and parents and that in order to learn, students must feel safe, valued and loved. Each day, she strives to provide her students with support and works throughout the year to get to know her students and every aspect of their lives.

“My goal is to provide students with countless opportunities for success and then reward them with generous praise and encouragement,” Skala said. “Within this safe environment, I can push them outside of their comfort zone, while providing them with the strategies and support in order to overcome these stresses.”

In addition to her selection as Forest North 2017 Teacher of the Year, she was also nominated for the national Lifechanger of the Year award earlier this year. She also established the “reverse inclusion” program at Forest North, which brings general education students into the Functional Communication Classrooms .

“Danielle Skala is an amazing special education teacher,” Forest North Principal Amy Jacobs said. “She gives 125 percent to her students everyday and is their greatest advocate to make sure they are included in all campus activities just like their general education peers. We are lucky to have her as a part of our campus team and as a part of RRISD.”[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_raw_html]JTNDaWZyYW1lJTIwd2lkdGglM0QlMjI1NjAlMjIlMjBoZWlnaHQlM0QlMjIzMTUlMjIlMjBzcmMlM0QlMjJodHRwcyUzQSUyRiUyRnd3dy55b3V0dWJlLmNvbSUyRmVtYmVkJTJGS29vUU5XUmF0bnMlMjIlMjBmcmFtZWJvcmRlciUzRCUyMjAlMjIlMjBhbGxvd2Z1bGxzY3JlZW4lM0UlM0MlMkZpZnJhbWUlM0U=[/vc_raw_html][/vc_column][/vc_row]