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Chalkboard Champion: Former retired teacher, teaching and making a difference again

Updated: Feb. 26, 2021 at 11:35 AM EST
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BRADENTON, Fla. (WWSB) - “I absolutely love it here. I love the mission. I love the boys. It’s just a really special place and I get where they’re going and I want to help them get there, said fourth grade teacher Suzi Shea when asked about Visible Men Academy.

She is the newest Chalkboard Champion and recipient of $500 from May Custom Home.

Shea retired from teaching after three decades and started volunteering at the school a couple of days a week.

“I started volunteering and I was here Tuesday and Thursday. I couldn’t wait to get here on Tuesday and Thursday,” she added.

When she learned of an open position, she quickly jumped on the opportunity and has been teaching there for two years now.

Visible Men Academy is a school in Bradenton designed for at-risk boys in the community. Teachers like Shea are teaching them what it means to shine, also known as the S.H.I.N.E. values.

S for selflessness, H for honesty, I for integrity, N for niceness, and E for excellence, said Caleb Williams, who is one of her fourth grade students.

“We’ve just been able to do a lot of cool things that I think have changed their thinking and their trajectory because I’m introducing them to boys who grew up just like them,” Shea said.

She has made pillows for her students with their names embroidered on them, brought in speakers to help bring their in-class learning to life, and has also brought in a math teacher to help advance a student, just to name a few things.

“No matter what they need to be visible men in their community. They are all capable of being leaders and stepping up and doing the right thing,” she added.

Thank you, Suzi Shea, for everything you do to make a difference in your student’s lives!

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