Meet Our New Elmwood Faculty for the 2018-19 School Year — Welcome!

Meet Our New Elmwood Faculty for the 2018-19 School Year — Welcome!

Elmwood Elementary School's new faculty members for 2018-19 are, from left, Katie Bell and Tia Ascencio. (District 401 photo by Dave Porreca)


With the school year in full swing, you've probably noticed a few new faces among the Elmwood Elementary School faculty.

Besides our new principal, Mr. Matthew Lerner, and our new assistant principal, Ms. Stephanie Hagins — both of whom you've met through earlier articles — we have two faculty members: Ms. Tia Ascencio and Ms. Katie Bell.

Ms. Ascencio teaches art, and Ms. Bell teaches 1st grade. In case you haven't met them yet, here's an introduction to our new faculty. Welcome to Elmwood!


Tia Ascencio, Art Teacher


Tia AscencioYour hometown and high school? Vestal, N.Y.; Vestal Senior High School (in Upstate New York).

College(s), major(s) and degree(s)? Binghamton University, bachelor of fine arts, concentrations in sculpture and painting, minor in art history; Elmira College, master's degree in education, K-12 visual arts certification.

Years of teaching experience? 10 years.

Previous teaching jobs? New York: Early education, 3½ years; K-5 art and alternative HS art, Johnson City; 7-8 art, HS digital photography, HS sculpture, Seton Catholic, Binghamton. North Carolina: PreK-5 art, Root Elementary, Raleigh.

Your Elmwood job? Teaching art to students in grades 1-6 at Elmwood and also to K students at the Early Childhood Center.

Why education as a career? I get to play with art supplies all day long and help foster creativity in today’s youth.  

Challenges and rewards of your job? The challenge is that there are never enough hours in the day to do everything that I want in the art room. The rewards are endless! I love being able to talk about artists and teach art techniques all day long. I also learn new things every day from my students.

Why Elmwood School? Elmwood is an amazing school with a welcoming staff that made me feel welcome immediately. We moved to the area for my husband's job last December, which was super lucky for me because now I get to work here!!

Your impression of Elmwood Park so far? Elmwood Park seems like a wonderful town to grow up in, with schools that really care about EVERY student. I love being a part of this wonderful community!

Your goals for the year? This year I plan to start "Art to Remember" back up so we can all have our beautiful artwork made into limitless things, while raising money for MORE ART SUPPLIES!!


Katie Bell, 1st-Grade Teacher


Katie BellYour hometown and high school? Franklin Park; East Leyden High School.

College(s), major(s) and degree(s)? Illinois Wesleyan University, bachelor's degree in elementary education; Roosevelt University, ESL endorsement and working toward my master's in curriculum & instruction.

Years of teaching experience? Five year.

Previous teaching jobs? I taught 1st grade for four years in Des Plaines District 63.

Your Elmwood job? Teaching 1st grade.

Why education as a career? I will never forget my 2nd-grade teacher, Mrs. Carroll. Her caring and kind personality inspired me to be a teacher! I’ve always loved helping others and seeing students find a love for learning!

Challenges and rewards of your job? A challenge in teaching for me is spending too much of my free time on Pinterest. I think any teacher would agree that one of the biggest rewards in teaching is the "light-bulb moment." The planning, preparation, sweat and tears are always worth it when students light up with excitement toward learning!

Why Elmwood? I grew up in Franklin Park and have always heard of the great education that the Elmwood School District provides students. The strong values and beliefs of the school make me proud to be an Elmwood Panther!

Your impression of the school and community so far? The staff, administration and community are very positive and enthusiastic toward starting the year! As a new teacher in the District I feel supported in many ways!

Your goals for the year? My goals for this year are to build relationships with the Elmwood students, families and staff. I am very excited to get to know the Elmwood community and create an environment where every child loves learning!


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